Valentine’s Day is approaching, and we are all familiar with the mixed emotions revolving around a holiday that markets the idea of romantic love.
Not everyone is in a romantic relationship, and sometimes having it blasted all over the media can have the potential for feelings of inadequacy. But what about love for yourself? Practicing self-love is the best way to soar through the holiday, whether you are in a romantic partnership or not.
Self-love is a huge subject and I could probably write a book about it. As a matter of fact, there are probably hundreds or even thousands of books about self-love. But what are some simple steps you can take today that will increase love for yourself?
Here Are 6 Ways to Practice Self-Love this Valentine’s Day:
If you have been hurt in the past by lovers, friends, or significant people in your life, you may need to let that go. Holding grudges is the first huge block to attracting loving relationships and loving yourself. If you love yourself, it is easier to realize that other people are probably hurt and doing the best they can given the circumstances they have been dealt. That being said, depending on the situation, you may need help in offering forgiveness to someone who has abused you. Seek out a support group, a therapist, or someone like me who has been trained in ways to identify and heal hurts. If you can’t forgive, at least be willing to forgive. And don’t forget to forgive yourself!
Become aware of your negative self-talk
We all do it and one of the best ways to love yourself is to stop berating, shaming and criticizing yourself. A lot of times we are completely unaware of the critical things we think and say to ourselves. One way to notice and identify negative self-talk is by saying positive things to and about yourself and notice if there is resistance inside of you! Try this. Say something good about yourself, like, “I am amazing!” “I am beautiful!” You can even start small, like, “my hair looks fabulous today!” If you sense resistance, you are engaging in negative self-talk. If you don’t believe you are wonderful, no one else will either. When you notice a thought that is less than helpful, change it around to a more positive thought.
Give yourself a gift
This is one of my favorite ways of expressing love to myself. Instead of waiting for someone else to give you flowers or chocolate, give yourself something special. Do this on a regular basis! If money is tight, you can gift yourself a walk in the park or a bubble bath. Giving gifts does not have to be expensive. One thing you can do is to get some small item you can carry around with you, in your pocket or purse. Every time you feel it in your hand, say “I love you” to yourself. Make it be a reminder to love yourself.
As often as you can, shift your awareness into your body and just note what you notice. Notice that your breath comes and goes without any effort on your part. Notice your heart continues to beat without you having to encourage it or tell it what to do. It is an amazing exercise to send love and gratitude to all the parts of your body. You can choose one or you can start at the top of your head and work your way down. If you don’t have time to send love to all your parts, then focus on the ones that have been the recipient of a lack of love. All of us have criticized parts of our bodies we have deemed less than acceptable. Focus on those parts and thank them for being a part of you. I like to thank the ones that may be hurting or suffering in some way and send love and gratitude to those parts in particular.
We all can admit that some days we wake up and feel amazing and other days not so much. If we can acknowledge those days that are less than amazing and, instead of wallowing in self-pity or depression, choose to feel joy, we will be taking one step toward feeling better. If you can’t access joy just by choosing to feel that way, then pretend! Imagine what it would feel like if you had everything you ever dreamed of. Remember a time in your life when you were on top of the world. Our brains are interesting in that they don’t always differentiate between real and imagined. Imagination is one step toward living a joyful life of self-love.
Physical activity is linked to a better sense of well-being. If at all possible, move around. Feel what it feels like to be in your body. If moving is a challenge, then imagine you are moving. Move what you can. If all you can move is your eyeballs or your fingers, then move them. Bringing a sense of well-being into your physical body will enhance your experience of self-love.
There are hundreds of ways to practice self-love but the main thing you can do is to notice when you are not doing it and decide to change that!
Use this Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to begin a love relationship with yourself. In doing that, you will find you are a magnet to attracting love in many forms! There are many ways to experience love in your life, and being in a romantic relationship is only one of those ways. Decide today that you are going to be open to experiencing love, starting with the love you have for yourself.
If you would like to schedule a private session by phone, Skype, Zoom, or in person, you can contact me.