Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Self love

Everyone we meet changes us. Let's celebrate all kinds of love this Valentine's Day. (Photo by Adele van Wyk)
Everyone we meet changes us. Let’s celebrate all kinds of love this Valentine’s Day. (Photo by Adele van Wyk)

There are guys you try to be calm around (obsessing over your words as you hold your breath, hoping they can’t tell you’re imagining the thought of kissing them). There are beautiful girls who you’d love to let into your daily routine, if only you could figure out what gets them going.

Between our sexual and sentimental motivations for a partner, it can sometimes seem difficult to remember our sense of self. “Be yourself,” and “remember who you are” are common tidbits of wisdom offered to the young heading off on first dates, but at this stage of life we’re not trying to be capricious—we just don’t know who we are yet.

One guy you’d like to sleep with, and another you’d like to tell about your childhood. Ideally we’re looking for both these qualities in one partner, but it seems that each new interest brings out different parts of our growing self. Sometimes this is exciting, but often it can seem a bit destabilizing—so much so that we decide the predictability of going solo is the best way to ensure sanity.

The truth though is that every person we meet, who we truly take the time to encounter—in friendship or partnership—changes us. There isn’t one set self for us to hold onto. And it can be scary to realize this when someone shows us something about ourselves we never noticed, like how beautiful and calm we feel when looking at the Halifax harbour or how we still don’t know how to understand the way our dad spoke to us as a kid. I’m personally a fan of figuring out my academic life over confronting these complicating personal insights, but through experience I’ve been learning it comes with some perks. I’ve learned I also enjoy the feel of holding someone’s hand, and the calm breathing that comes when chatting with someone I trust, knowing I have someone to tell about my day, maybe for many years.

I’m fairly immature when it comes to developing partnerships, but I’m slowly finding that truly loving ourselves has something to do with letting ourselves love another. That may be a pet, a friend, or that new interest you’re dying to invite for a skate at the Oval. It may seem counterintuitive, but perhaps the best way to remember who we are as individuals is to stop hiding from relationships.

Loving others shows us that who we are is a dynamic process. As we filter our way through this time of red and chocolates we should remember that our need for affection goes beyond just one day, is shown in many ways, and that we truly desire as much to receive it as to share it.


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