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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Krea chapter.

Everybody’s falling in love and I’m falling behind” – Laufey

I grew up with a romanticized idea of love. I remember being seven years old, holding onto my comfort soft toy and enveloped in my pink blanket as I intently watched Belle confess her deep affections for the Beast. Disney portrayed this as a love so pure that it couldn’t be stopped by any barriers. It was meant to be honest, passionate, forgiving and most of all- magical. For my juvenile and naive mind, this became my definition of love. I yearned to experience the same rush of emotions as the characters did on television. So, I went looking for it in all the right (and sometimes wrong) places, but somehow, it always seemed too far away. 

Those around me seemed to easily traverse this path that led to love. They easily encountered infatuation, affection and intimacy. It made me question- was there something wrong with me? Was I not good enough? Was there a reason why my prince or princess wasn’t coming to sweep me off my feet? These thoughts plagued my mind incessantly for years. Seven year old me turned into a seventeen year old version, and along the way I gained a sense of maturity that helped me answer all my questions. This maturity made me come to terms with the most important lesson of love: in order to love someone else you must have the capacity to fully love yourself first. 

Why is it that the lack of external affection led me to question my own self? I came to understand that the simple reason was because these questions were in fact manifestations of my own insecurities. It is a harsh reality that if you can’t treat yourself with enough grace, patience, forgiveness and kindness there is no way you can extend the amalgamation of these feelings to someone else. No matter how hard you try, if you aren’t happy with yourself there will be a breaking point wherein all the underlying insecurities will push past the barriers they hide behind and burst out in an unexpectedly gruesome way. 

 Now when I rewatch the classic fairytale, I recognise that Belle had the capability to unconditionally love the Beast because she was secure with herself, and she actively loved herself. She displayed her self love by nurturing her intellect through reading, by being kind to herself and others and most notably by standing up for herself in the direst of situations. She proved the importance of having your own back, of loving yourself so much that you are satisfied with yourself and thus don’t seek this happiness in someone else. 

Loving a partner is undeniably a beautiful and stupefying experience, but it cannot remedy the lack of self love one may have. Using an external love as a replacement for the internal one is like trying to fill water in a broken bucket. You can try to fill the bucket with all your determination, you could even succeed in filling it up partially. But soon the water would seep through the cracks and rush out far and wide. Without trying to fix the root of the problem, the cracks in the bucket, there is no way to successfully and truly fill it with water. Just like the bucket, we too can’t try to fill our hearts with external love without fixing the cracks in the foundation- our love for ourselves. 

 Since this realization, I have taken time to unpack my own insecurities, deep dive into my thoughts and have slowly tried to fix my relationship with myself. In doing so, I know that my insecurities won’t fade away instantly and perhaps this process of loving myself completely may take years to accomplish. But what I know with certainty is that I want to love myself honestly, passionately and magically. So, I continue this undertaking day after day, trying to chisel away bits of my insecurities and simultaneously strengthen the foundation of my self perception. In the end I am rest assured that my happily ever after does exist and that by my efforts to love myself, I have already taken the first step down this path.

Hi, I'm Simraan! I love hugs, unironically using genZ lingo, clicking pictures of pretty skies, consuming hazardous amounts of coffee, the smell that follows rain, warm chocolate chip cookies (especially from Theobroma) and receiving pretty bouquets. For a serotonin boost to get through busy days I listen to music, paint, go pet the resident campus cat coco, analyze biology research papers or read a trashy romance novel. My imagination always runs wild, and thus I express my never-ending ideas through my written work. I'm super excited to share my creativity with all of you on HerCampus <3