Love is available to each and every one of us at all times. Love doesn’t have to come from a romantic relationship - it can come from within. After all, your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship you will develop in your lifetime. So, this year for Valentine’s Day we are celebrating self-love - the act of sharing love with yourself in regards to your own well-being and happiness.
So what exactly does self-love mean? It’s so much more than taking that bubble bath at the end of a long day or eating that chocolate cake that has been calling your name. It’s more than moving your body to the sound of music or treating yourself to a relaxing massage. While those are still great ways of self-love, it’s more than that. It’s about how we feel inside and about the messages we send ourselves when nobody is listening.
- Not perfect.
- Loving all aspects of yourself, the lightness and the darkness, the good times and the bad.
- Deciding to take the day off from work to spend time with yourself, doing what you want to do.
- Saying no to your friend who wants to go to that party you don’t want to attend.
- Putting yourself outside of your comfort zone to meet new people or try new things.
- Not judging yourself for skipping the day at the gym, knowing that your body needed to rest and rejuvenate itself.
- Looking at yourself in the mirror and telling yourself that you are beautiful.
- Letting go of those things that are no longer serving you.
- Knowing what you deserve and that you are worthy of unconditional love.
- Eating that piece of cake with no judgement, knowing that you deserve to eat that.
- Blasting your music and singing at the top of your lungs, not caring who hears you.
- Binge watching romantic comedies while sitting in your bathrobe all day.
- Writing down one thing you’re grateful for each day.
- Moving your body in any way that feels good.
- Drinking that glass of wine at the end of a long day.
- Reading a new book while listening to the rain.
- Not comparing yourself to others you see on social media.
- Spending 10 minutes each day to meditate and journal.
- Admiring your smile when you brush your teeth.
- Treating yourself to a massage.
- Taking that well deserved vacation.
- Learning a new skill or activity.
- Cooking yourself dinner.
I remember, when I would eat healthy and work-out on a regular basis I would be so proud for the love that I was showing myself. And I would say to myself, “YES, I LOVE MYSELF!” When in reality, every time I looked in the mirror I would talk negatively towards myself or I would feel guilty for eating that piece of cake. I was definitely not practicing love and compassion towards myself.
For as long as I can remember, I have had a love-hate relationship with my body. I would always look at myself and think of what I could fix or make better. What took me so long to realize, is there was nothing to “fix” about myself. I am perfect just as I am and so are you. I have a different body than my best friend or the person next to me in yoga class, but everybody is different and beautiful in their own way.
Just as our bodies are different, self-love is different for everybody. It is a piece of artwork and you are your own masterpiece. It is something that you can’t learn from a book or from other people or relationships, it is something that is found within. It’s so much bigger than eating healthy and working out on a regular basis. It’s a path of becoming more self-aware. It is found while soul searching and it takes time to be discovered and nurtured. Self-love, much like yoga is a practice, not a destination. It ebbs and flows and is a continuous process of learning and re-learning. It fuels you and makes you love yourself a little more each day.
So, how can you show yourself some extra love this Valentine’s Day and every day moving forward? Here are a few ways you can practice self-love on a daily basis:
1. Start Your Day on a Positive Note.
Instead of immediately checking your emails or Instagram account when you wake up in the morning, take just a few moments for yourself. Try reciting an encouraging mantra, either out loud or in your head. This can be something very simple such as, “Today I choose happiness” or “I am thankful for everything I have.” Try sticking with the same mantra each morning for a week to see if your outlook has shifted.
If reciting a mantra isn’t your thing try going on a daily morning walk, even just for 10 minutes each day. Moving your body first thing in the morning and getting some fresh air can be such a great way to start your day. I notice that when I start my day with checking emails and social media immediately I get annoyed at something I see on Instagram or overwhelmed with all all the things that I need to do. But, when I start my day with myself I am in a completely different headspace and feel refreshed and ready to tackle the day.
2. Give Yourself a Break from Social Media.
Social media can be great, but it can be a black hole that wears us down. Have you ever gone on Instagram to look at one thing and the next think you know 45 minutes have passed and you’re just endlessly scrolling through photos of people you don’t even know? We then find ourselves comparing our lives or how we look to others wondering how we can achieve that perfect hair or glowing skin or how to find a way to travel the globe like others we see, while still making a living.
Something that I am working hard towards is limiting my social media usage and only going on my personal accounts once a day. Try it out - it’s refreshing to not be so concerned about what everybody is doing.
3. Take Alone Time.
There is nothing selfish about taking some time each day to be by yourself. Everybody needs time alone to recharge, we weren’t meant to be surrounded by people constantly. Especially, if you have a job where you are constantly talking to people I bet some alone time sounds really nice. This could mean just going on a walk everyday by yourself or going to a coffee shop to read a book or journal or going to a movie by yourself or even taking a vacation alone.
4. Learn to Say No.
Learning to say no can be hard, it was something that I struggled with and still do. I am someone who wants to please everybody all the time. I hate when I feel as though someone is disappointed in me because I turned down an invitation somewhere so I used to say yes to everything. But what was happening was that I was spreading myself too thin and I was miserable when I said yes to things I didn’t want to be at, I was constantly checking my phone to see when I could go home. The crazy thing I realized is that people wouldn’t be disappointed in me for saying no to something, they would respect me for admitting that I didn’t want to do something. What a crazy concept, I am allowed to do what I want to do?! Sometimes we forget that, we forget that we are in control of what we want to do. And learning to say no is very important.
Next time your friend or family member invites you to something that you genuinely don’t want to do, just say no! I bet you’ll feel empowered and a lot happier when you are cuddled on your couch watching movies versus getting all dolled up to attend a party you did not want to be apart of.
5. Celebrate Yourself and End Your Day on a Positive Note.
End your day by celebrating the most important person in your life: you. Take a few moments to reflect on what you did each day, no matter how small. And instead of thinking that you didn’t do enough or that you didn’t finish something that you needed to, think about what you accomplished and give yourself a hug for doing an amazing job.
Another great way to end your day is by meditating. You will be able to connect your mind and body on a completely different level. There is something totally freeing about clearing your mind and not thinking about anything for even just a few seconds. Our brains are constantly on overload, thinking all the time so giving them a break is much needed.
This is something I have struggled with for years. I have found it hard to keep up a consistent meditation practice, but when I do meditate I feel amazing and rejuvenated. If you have also struggled with your mediation practice or are new to it, I suggest giving Headspace or Calm a try. These are both meditation apps that I have found success with. The offer sessions for everybody that range from one minute to sixty minutes and up.
Remember, love is available to each and every one of us at all times and your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship you will develop in your lifetime. So, how are you going to show yourself some extra love this Valentine’s Day and every day moving forward?
Sending you all a lot of love this Valentine's Day and every day!