OUR VIEW: Self-love is key to learning to love others


artwork by Sydney Gonzales

“Love is in the air!” However, this “love” in the air is often heartbreakingly ingenuine, and it’s hard to believe it’s anything more than pollution. There is hate in the world because people are not being taught or shown love by example. It is imperative that we learn what actual love is instead of just celebrating with a holiday of deception. 

  The concept of true love seems to confuse people. Love, simply, is caring for one’s fellow humans. Love can simply be performing kind acts and expecting nothing in return. Undoubtedly, romantic love exists; however, people appear to be experiencing fake romantic love that holds no meaning. The ever-growing influence social media has on our lives is distorting people’s definition of what “love” is as well.

  It seems to be a common belief in today’s world that love can only exist when both parties benefit. This, however, is not the case. Take this quote from Mr. Rogers. “Love seems to be something that keeps filling up within us. The more we give away, the more we have to give.” One of the easiest ways one can illustrate this is by showing love and kindness to others, so we learn by example and start to spread love as well. No harm comes from showing respect and kindness to others, and this is especially important to realize when it comes to interacting with other students in high school.

  Another important quote from Mr. Rogers– “When we love a person, we accept him or her exactly as is: the lovely with the unlovely, the strong along with the fearful, the true mixed in with the façade, and of course, the only way we can do it is by accepting ourselves that way.” This is important to realize in an age when people enter relationships simply because they want to, without realizing the most important thing about romantic love–it starts out as friendship. High school students get caught in a loop of constantly starting and ending relationships, with little true love or affection. How can we truly know what love is if the only reason we get a girlfriend/boyfriend is that “it’s cool”? Ask any happily married couple what they were before they started their relationship, and the most common answer will be “friends.” True romantic love stems from being friends and accepting both strengths and flaws.

  One final Mr. Rogers quote. “The toughest thing is to love somebody who has done something mean to you. Especially when that somebody has been yourself.” Social media has deceived us into believing our worth is based on likes, shares and retweets. The sad truth is that this is causing our greatest enemy to become ourselves as we enter a state of self-pity induced by social media. The rates of anxiety and depression in teenagers is skyrocketing, and it’s partially because they fail to realize one of the most important forms of love: love for oneself. One must accept flaws in oneself just as one must accept them in others. It’s important that we put our phones down every once and a while and realize that we are unique and cherished individuals whose worths are much more than digital popularity.

  People in this modern world are completely confused about what love truly is. However, love is not that hard to understand–love is showing kindness and respect to other humans, accepting the strengths and flaws inside us and in others. It is absolutely necessary that we understand what love truly is so we can teach by example and help true love spread.