Happy almost Valentine’s Day! A day all about love and relationships which most of us tend to have a love-hate relationship with.
Whether we are in a relationship or not or have decided we don’t care about this day devoted to love, somewhere inside of most of us is some residue or very palpable pain from Valentine’s Days past when we were either:
not in a relationship and feeling like a loser,
mending a broken heart and pining over lost love,
feeling alone in a loveless relationship,
overcome with anxiety and doubt, questioning our relationship status or wondering if and how our partner would show up and acknowledge this special day.
Bottom line, we have let a day all about love strip us of any feelings of love for or about ourselves!
So on this Valentine's Day, whether "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" or "All You Need Is Love," may I suggest that if you truly "Want to Know What Love Is," then focus on being your own Valentine and giving yourself "The Greatest Love of All" -- self- love!
Now, the whole concept of self-love can be tricky. On a daily basis, between work, family, and all of the items on our to-do list, most of us don’t take time to think about self-love. When asked about their feelings of self-love or what they do to foster it, often people respond with a blank stare. So in honor of Valentine’s Day and enjoying “Everlasting Love,” here are 3 tips to help you cultivate more self-love!
Tip #1: Foster Your Uniqueness
Most of us spend years or even a lifetime looking for love outside of ourselves. Our feelings of self-love are determined by our outer accomplishments, level of success, or ability to make others love and affirm us. Although all of the achievements and expressions of affection do feel good, they are fleeting. Whenever we are looking to others or anything in the external world to validate us or fill us up, then we truly are "looking for love in all the wrong places!"
When it comes to self-love, if you never want to go without, then you must go within. You must take on valuing yourself. How? By consciously fostering your own uniqueness. Start taking stock of your fabulousness! “What do you love about you?” “What makes you special?” “Why would someone else love to have you in their life?”
For self-love to grow, it must be consciously cultivated and it starts by proactively looking for all that we are and valuing our uniqueness.
Tip #2: Change Your Thoughts
We have all heard it…“Our thoughts shape our reality.” However, our thoughts are primarily automatic and unconscious. We don’t even realize we are thinking what we are thinking. Did you know that we all have about 50,000 negative thoughts per day and that 95 percent of these negative thoughts are repeated daily? That means:
We listen to the same narrative of 47,500 of negative thoughts day after day!
And who do you think our negative thoughts are mostly about? Ourselves!
Let’s face it. The soundtrack that loops around our brain is far from a “Silly Little Love Song.” Instead it is this choir of condemnation and criticism which questions “What is wrong with you?” and sings a refrain of “You are not good enough!”
For self-love to grow we need to change the song in our head. We need to catch the thoughts that disempower us and make us feel bad and learn to replace them with ones that feel nurturing, supportive, and empowering.
For self-love to grow, we need to start treating and talking to ourselves like someone we love!
Tip #3: Take On Filling Your Own Cup
Self-love is not a spectator sport. It’s an active practice that takes conscious thought, consistent action, and ongoing attention. There is no one-size-fits-all definition. To live a life of self-love, you need to continuously define what that looks and feels like for you. You must define:
What are the thoughts, actions, habits, situations, and people that feel good to and for me?
What are those that don’t?
Then you need to take on filling your cup with the thoughts, actions, things, and people that make your mind, body, and soul sing. And you must be diligent, since…
If it doesn’t feel like love, it is not!
And anything that does not feel like love should not be put in your cup!
As Valentine's Day quickly approaches, remember that the greatest gift you can give yourself and others is to love yourself completely. When you love yourself completely, not only can you love others more but, more importantly, you teach others how to love themselves more…And to me, that's even better than chocolate!
Transformational Action Steps
(1) Start observing your internal dialogue, your thoughts, and your actions. Become aware about how self- loving they are or are not. How are they impacting your feelings of self-love?
(2) When you catch yourself doing or thinking something that is not self-loving, close your eyes for just a moment and, with a slow, nourishing breath, turn your attention back inside. Ask yourself, "What can I do in this moment to bring more self-love into my life?" Maybe it's going for a walk or making a list of ten reasons why you are utterly and completely fabulous. Perhaps it's calling one of your favorite people in the world. (This is also a great ritual to do at the beginning of each day. Ask yourself what you can do today to bring more self-love into your life.) Whatever it is, take that action!
(3) Celebrate yourself on Valentine's Day! Write yourself a love letter, cook yourself a fabulous meal, buy yourself some sexy lingerie, take a bubble bath…Do something to spoil yourself and make yourself feel totally and completely loved and lit up!