I met her towards the end of my high school days; we hit it off immediately. We did practically everything together; we even dressed similarly to all our social outings. As they say, we were joined at the hip. We chose to do our National Service in the same region, and this further strengthened our bond. I didn’t realise it then, but I had fallen in love with this friend of mine. Yes, it is possible to fall in love with the same gender and yet not have any amorous feeling. It’s the kind of the love you have for your favourite sibling or parent or family member – it’s based on mutual respect and shared values. It’s known as “brotherly love”.
I got a job with a media house and within a space of 2 years, I had bought my first car and we would hang out more often now. She was not working with any company yet and I could tell that bothered her a bit, as it did bother me too. I got her some short-term contracts based on the networks I had established; and they were exactly just that- short term.
As growing women, I knew we had needs that had to be funded by an income-generating job – her not having a regular and steady bothered me. What could I do to help? I came up with an interim plan; until she got a job, I will share my income with her evenly. And she was so appreciative of it and said as much. It clearly was love that was leading me in all I was doing for her – all that mattered to me was that she was happy and comfortable.
I mistakenly and childishly thought she felt the same way about me; that was how it was meant to work, right? Whenever she was with her friends, I was almost inconspicuous, even though I was sat right amongst them and tried hard to join in their conversations. I didn’t make much of it so brushed it aside…just as I did when she did other things that I thought didn’t show respect or love to me.
Needless to say, the relationship ended abruptly after more than a decade. But I learnt great lessons from it; not everything that comes to an end is necessarily a bad thing. There’s a saying that goes, “When you lose, don’t lose the lesson”.
Loving you first, and consciously, through intentional acts is good for your soul …putting one’s self on the back burner in favour of others will catch up with you, leaving you feeling purposeless and frustrated all the time without realising why.
So, the big question is, how do you love yourself? Let’s count a few ways;
- Believe in yourself – this is the very foundation to self-love. If you do believe in yourself, regardless of the mistakes you may have made earlier. No one is infallible, including you. So be kind to yourself when you get it wrong in spite of criticisms from others. You always have tomorrow to better yourself.
- You want something, you go for it – have you noticed how Valentine’s Day is now a day to exchange gifts between lovers? So, what if you don’t have anyone special to bring you gifts? What stops you from getting you what you would have wanted to get on this special day? Th point is to make you happy, right? And who better to make you happy but yourself?
- Self-care: now this, is the epitome of self-love, my dearest tweenager! Making time to take care of you is essential to loving yourself. Making time daily for self-care can be such a game-changer – the key is to do it daily so that you normalise it. Let’s try it this way; take a sheet of paper and write this simple statement down- “Because I love myself, I will _______________________ (what 2 self-care things would you write down to do daily? Learn something new? Clean up your room? Spend more time by yourself?)
I say love is not just s feeling, it’s a decision. Therefor I choose to love me first and well because, as actress Lucille Ball once said, “Love yourself first and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world”.
>>>The writer is a passionate educator who makes learning fun for children under 18 through co-curricular programmes. Through her charity organisation, Young Educators Foundation (YEF) in Ghana, the programmes portfolios have expanded to include literacy programmes in local languages as well as public speaking programmes for the youth.
Based on her work in education and with children, Eugenia is the recipient of many nomination and awards such as a presidential award for the contribution to education over the past decade in 2018. In 2019, she was named as one of the 74 individuals in Those who Inspire Ghana, a global programme that identifies nationals whose experiences are worth sharing. Eugenia believes that children are not the ‘future’, but rather the ‘present’ and so the need to invest in their total development. She is a regular contributor on radio and television shows as well as various public fora on this and related topics.