Happy Valentine’s Day 2019! We are all being bombarded with advertisements and store displays reminding us to get our sweetheart the “perfect” Valentine’s Day gift such as candy, cards, flowers, jewelry, to just name a few of the most popular items. Valentine’s Day has not always been associated with romance. In fact, some of the history of Valentine’s Day is rather gruesome. However, most of us focus on love and romance when it comes to Valentine’s Day and frankly, that is much better in my humble opinion.
What is love? That is a great question with so many descriptions and interpretations. One definition found in Merriam Webster is “warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion; to hold dear”. Sounds like a good summary of what many of us believe love is. However, many descriptions include “towards another person” in the definition. Loving and being loved by others is great; however, many definitions lack “loving yourself”. Is loving yourself not very important? Well, of course it is!
Lucille Ball stated, “Love yourself first and everything else falls into line”. How perfect is that! How can we love someone or be loved by someone else if they first do not love themselves? That is an easy answer… they can’t!
Loving ourselves sounds so easy; yet, for many of us, it is very hard to do! Instead, many of us focus on loving others and relying on others to love us in return; that is, if we even can believe or accept that we deserve to be loved. This sounds very sad and, it is! The reality is, each one of us deserves to be loved no matter how many mistakes we have made and continue to make in life. We need to love ourselves! Robert Morley stated “To fall in love with yourself is the first secret to happiness”. Again, many find truly loving ourselves very challenging, and again, I ask, why? I do not believe that there is one single answer or explanation as to why we struggle with loving ourselves for it tends to be very complicated and deep rooted. However, it is very important to learn to love ourselves for who we are. Sahaj Kohli said “The fact that someone else loves you doesn’t rescue you from the project of loving yourself”. This is such an amazing quote to believe and live by!
Let’s explore and practice ways to love ourselves. Here are 8 strategies to help us learn to and to continue to love ourselves:
1. Look into the mirror daily, yes, daily! When you are looking in the mirror, and say at least 3 positive things about yourself. It will likely be hard to do at first but with continued practice, it will become easier. Be sure that you identify and state different things each day! Each of us have so many good qualities! I love the quote by Byron Katie ”Do you want to meet the love of your life? Look in the mirror.”
2. Practice self care daily, such as taking a nap, exercising, dancing in the rain to name just a few. See a previous blog post on other self care ideas here.
3. Establish and maintain boundaries such as saying no and standing up for yourself. Do not let others push you into things or bully you. This too will take practice but once you do it once and keep doing it, the feeling is so great that you will want to continue to do it all the time!
4. Accept you for you! You are you and you are awesome! Don’t compare yourself to others- instead cherish your uniqueness and your personal growth.
5. Forgive yourself! We all make mistakes but instead, let’s view them as learning experiences and celebrate what you have learned from them.
6. Avoid perfectionism! No one is perfect and if someone would be, how boring would that be! Trust me, I struggle with it too. It can be my worst enemy at times!
7. Avoid negative people and instead surround yourself with others who value you and love you for who you are! They see the true you and love you for it! Quality of friends is so much more rewarding than quantity of friends.
8. Treat yourself! I love to purchase a new book to read. Maybe you will do the same or maybe you will buy a new video game or something else, the point is, do something for you!
So, now that we have identified some strategies to love ourselves, what are we going to do for ourselves to celebrate us being our own best Valentine? Does a nice dinner out sound good? Maybe a nice quiet night in curled up in PJ’s with a pizza and watching a movie is more your style? Whatever it may be, please treat yourself not just on Valentine’s Day, but on a regular basis such as once a month. You certainly deserve it!
We would love to hear how you practice loving yourself and what you love about yourself. If you are struggling with loving you, we are here for you. Please reach out to us because we care!