Ok, so maybe Valentine's Day is cheesy. For a long time, I said "Bah, Cupid!" but now I don't mind the darn day so much. I appreciate the heightened sense of romance, sweetness and love in the air. I don't currently have a significant other, but I'm giving a little extra TLC to the person who matters most in my life - ME.
The road to self-love was a long one for this lady. I neglected myself for many years amidst the party lifestyle. However, I had no idea that I wasn't loving myself, nor what it felt like to love myself or even how to. For me, the process took years and involved many healing modalities but self-love prevailed with one major action - acceptance. I had to learn how to welcome all parts of myself, even the stuff I didn't like or understand about me.
And whew! I'm so grateful that I finally worked things out with myself because otherwise that was going to be one psychotic, tumultuous life-long relationship!
Some may think it's selfish to put yourself first, but I believe that everything springs from self-love. If we don't love ourselves, our health suffers, our energy plummets, and we're just not fulfilled in life. And when we're not feeling happy and fulfilled, we can't show up and be of service to others. So we're actually doing a disservice to others when we're not taking care of Number 1. Furthermore, if we don't love ourselves, we can't receive love from others. We're blocking that love from coming through.
So, how can you accept and love yourself more? Well, I have a plethora of tools for you, but I'll suggest just a few today:
1) Morning Pages. From Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, morning pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. The idea is to write about anything and everything that crosses your mind - even the negative stuff that might be lodged in there. This is a great way to allow yourself to release thoughts without judgment. Here's a 2-minute video of Julia describing the exercise. She says it's like having coffee with your shadow.
2) Write a love letter to yourself. This is another opportunity to free your heart. Forgive yourself for resentments you still hold onto from the past (you know, the shoulda/woulda/coulda's) and appreciate yourself for all that you are and all that you do NOW. Because trust me, even if you don't believe it's true (yet), you are enough! And this is a way to start believing. So how do I love thee? Let me count the ways...
3) Be your own valentine. You might have a beautiful partner who will give you a sweet gift and take you out to a nice dinner this weekend. If so, that is wonderful! But regardless of whether you've got a valentine or not, do something a little extra lovely for yourself - just to say "I love me". I bought myself some pretty earrings, some sexy lingerie and vibrant flowers. My not-so-secret wish is to have a romantic love in my life, so I'm paving the way for him by treating myself how I want to be treated.
Just for a moment, imagine what it would be like to see all the people you encounter on a daily basis wholeheartedly loving themselves. The world would be a different place, right? Be the change you wish to see, my friend. After all, learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all. RIP Whitney and Happy Love Day.