This is my first Valentine’s Day as a wife to my loving husband, and probably the best Valentine’s day I have had in my entire life. You may make the assumption that it is because I am a newlywed wife, or because I have some extravagant plans for exotic travels and am showered with the most expensive chocolates and luxurious gifts.
But for me, it is the best Valentine’s Day because it is the one in which I feel the most complete version of Love.
They say that in order to experience true love, it is important to first love yourself – completely and unconditionally, without judgment. That true love encompasses self-love, and that it’s not just about loving yourself. It’s about loving yourself inside and out, exactly as you are, it’s about loving all of who you are, in every stage of your life, and filling your cup of self-love so it can overflow into everyone and everything around you.
So today, I reflect on myself, on Fatima, and write a love letter to myself.
I love myself when I was a baby and my parents courageously moved to the United States, struggling with finances but always remaining humble and remembering our roots. I love myself in elementary school when my first insecurities crept in about how I looked different after I was teased by the other kids on the playground during recess. My self when I felt left out from the in-crowd when I first moved to Atlanta in middle school, amidst the grieving after the passing of my father.
I love myself as a young adult transitioning from high school to college, feeling guilty for leaving my mom alone to raise my sister while I went on a journey to redefine myself. Myself during my awakening in March of 2010 and the decade of indescribable adventures that followed. And myself when I hit rock bottom after ending my toxic marriage, grieving the loss of my baby sister, and losing my job, home and everything I had ever known to connect to my true soul and catch my first glimpse of enlightenment.
All of this has led me up to the love I have, am and feel today. Today, when I am the happiest and healthiest I have ever been. Today, when I am happily married to my soulmate and love of my life. Today, when I am working at my dream job and have all the abundance I ever asked for. And today, I know I am only in this state of true and complete love because of the experiences I have had throughout my life. It is because of the lows I have felt the highs, and it is because of the loss I am able to feel love to its full capacity.
On this Valentine’s Day, a commercial holiday known to romanticize love, I have experienced the true meaning of Love. Love in my faith, love for myself at all stages of my life, love for my family, friends, human beings and of course – my soulmate life partner.
To know that Love is more than the cliche it is known for, and that it is nothing other than the One truth. And the importance of living by it every day because you never know when it could be your last. I have learned the importance of both giving and receiving love, to yourself and to others, and how at the end of the day it’s really all that matters, that you came into this world and made the intentional effort to use up every drop of love inside of your heart.