Its a question many might ask themselves today.
Valentine’s Day is a day that can come with a lot of reflection for people and couples. It can be especially difficult for those who are not in a relationship and would like to be, for those who are in a relationship but it’s not the one or type of relationship they want and for those who just lack love in their lives, despite being surrounded by people.
The lack of love in our lives can be detrimental.
Some would say that it is a families duty and obligation to love each other. But let’s be real, that isn’t always the case, and can be unrealistic and downright impossible in some cases. And for some, who crave the love of their family, for whatever reason, it’s just not there.
It is truly special when we found someone to love us, be that romantically or through the bounds of friendship.
There is just one person in the word we should be obligated to love.
Take a breath, because this is a hard one. Ourselves.
Self-love or loving yourself is a weird pill to swallow. I use the word ‘pill’ because like any medicine it can make you feel a hell of a lot better. But for some, it is perhaps the most difficult person to love.
It’s funny to think or realise that its easier to beat our selves up with cruel self-talk or set ourselves up for failure with unrealistic goals and inaction than give ourselves a break and love ourselves. Many go so far as to actual abuse themselves through their own degrading words and their own neglectful behaviour. Continually talking yourself down, putting others ahead of yourself, not making that doctors appointment or looking after yourself hurts you more than anyone else.
And if we can’t put ourselves first and love ourselves, how can we expect anyone else to love us?
I’m going to use a term/word here and it’s probably going to turn some people off. That word/term is self-love. Before you chalk this up to something hippy/new age/insert your reason for not continuing here just remember one thing. You clicked on this post because the title spoke to you in some way. If you’re wondering why there is no-one to love you on Valentine’s Day clicking away could be part of the reason.
What is self-love?
The dictionary defines it as…
regard for one’s own well-being and happiness.
I said, above, that ‘self-love’ can be a weird pill to swallow. But is a regard for your own well-being and happiness such a bad thing? If you don’t have regard for these things who should or will? Have you asked yourself that?
Self-love will and does have many implications. And these will change and alter depending on a person’s situation and circumstances. Self Love is not just about ‘me time’ – taking a long bath with a glass of wine or going hiking once a week. These can certainly be part of it. But self-love is much more important than making sure you have 1 hour a week where you get to do whatever you want.
Everyone needs to practice self-love!
In a way, in the world and society, we live in today, not practising self-love is probably easier than practising. Social media, our peers, our bosses and even ourselves can push us to aim for a perfection that does not exist. And this perfection is often not what we want at all – it’s just what we think we want or that we should want it.
So what do you do or how do your practice self-love?
That might depend a little on your own narrative. It might depend on the aspects of love that you’re missing. There are many aspects of love that we all need to feel. It’s the very same with self-love. Some of these you might already down or receive with ease. Other’s might take a while for you to get the hang of, or indeed be able to include in your relationship with yourself. But like any relationship you’ll have to work on the one you’ll have with yourself, just like you would with anyone else.
You’ll have to learn to accept yourself; the good, the bad, the sexy and the smelly. So here’s how to start:
Take Responsibility for Yourself.
Accept where you are. You got yourself there, whether you are where you want to or furthest you’ve ever been. You are where you are. While not everything may have been in your control. You had the power to change what you could. You also have the power to make changes going forward. Make them wisely. So man up and make a change if that’s what needed. Put a plan in place.
from those who don’t have your best interests at heart. Many of us have friends and family in our lives who are toxic. This toxicity comes in many forms. Perhaps they are continually disrespectful to you. Bully you. Do not value you, your time or what you offer the relationship. Or perhaps because they are so mean and cruel to themselves being around them has a negative effect on you. If you can take positive steps to improve the relationship and their effect on you do it. If you can not either remove them from your life or limit your exposure to them.
It’s surprisingly easy how common people can coast through life. Allowing circumstance and situation to dictate futures and outcomes. In away living intentionally goes hand and hand with taking responsibility for yourself. Stop comparing yourself to others. Set goals and stay focused. Live a life you want.
Be Present with Yourself
I was in my early teens with the term ‘quality time’ came into my vocabulary. It was a time I used to request from my father. I was and still am, the quintessential ‘Daddy’s Girl’. It was almost a lifetime later I realised, that ‘quality time’ with yourself is just as important as with others. Mindfulness, meditation, journaling and non-screen time is an excellent way of starting to spend quality time with yourself and getting to know who you are and what you really want.
Think Love, Do Love, Feel Love and Absorb Love for yourself
Many of your will be familiar with affirmations. They are a powerful ‘tool’ in building confidence. And its very important to tell ourselves we love ourselves, particularly if we don’t have anyone else to. Focus on a positive mind frame. It will take time. I’m not one for having sticky notes with things to say to yourself 10 times every morning in the bathroom mirror. But my house is scattered with framed quotes and powerful sayings that I look at regularly to remind myself and ground me when things are tough.
Do things you love. I realised 2 years ago my life was not my own. All I did was work. I did none of the things I loved. I hadn’t read a book in months. Had a picnic. Gone to a comedy show. Nothing that I loved to do. Sometimes its simple, like painting your nails or potting a plant. Make time for what you love. Have a date with yourself.
When we take care of ourselves we feel great. Desirable. Wanted. Take care of your body, inside and out. Spend time pampering yourself. Focus on a good diet and get fresh air. These alone can have a huge impact on your thoughts.
Surround yourself with things you love. Don’t buy just out of necessity. Buy out of joy.
We’re all human. Loving yourself, is, in a way, like being in a relationship with anyone. Mistakes will happen. Some days will be better than others, and there is always a potential you’ll get hurt. Perhaps you’ve not always been so good to yourself. Like I said above, its easy sometimes to be cruel to ourselves. Forgive yourself. If you can’t, who can? It may take time and you’ll possibly have to work through some things, but put in the effort. You are worth it.
Being in a relationship with yourself, and loving yourself is probably one of the hardest and most rewarding you’ll have. It will also strengthen the other relationships you will have in your life, making them better, more enriching then before.
Happy Valentine’s Day and remember… there is always, at least, one person who loves you… if you let me them… Yourself!