Valentine's Day is an interesting time for all of us. Some of us are super happy and in love, some of us are lonely; some of us just want to eat ice cream and watch The Notebook. Whatever your flavor is for Valentine's Day, I invite you to consider that this is actually the perfect time to fall in love with yourself.
So many of us are programmed to constantly be taking care of others. We say there isn't enough time to concentrate on ourselves or that it would just be an unnecessary indulgence. We often look to others for validation or the love that we desire. We don't want to invest in ourselves or make us a priority.
At the end of the day though the best thing you can do for yourself and for all the people you are trying to help is to practice some serious self-love.
I often hear my clients say that this is easier said than done. They talk about running around like crazy people trying to check off items on their to-do list and how self-love doesn't often make it to the top of the list. Trust me, I have totally been part of that to-do list club so I get it.
You and I both know deep down though that we can't fully love those around us or give them what they need if we don't love ourselves first. It can be easy to forget all the amazing things about yourself and lose connection with your confidence. Ultimately though you spend the most time of your life with yourself, so if you don't like you very much then that is a recipe for disaster.
Want to try something different from complete self-sacrifice and self-judgment? Great, because I have seven tips just for you to help you fall in love with yourself.
Tip #1: Make a List of 10 Things You Love About Yourself Everyday
This might sound a bit corny, but trust me it works. If you aren't used to focusing on what you love then you need to practice it just like you would any new exercise. Practice creates a habit so it is important that you make this a daily thing. You can focus on external or internal things; anything your heart desires. The most important part is that you do it consistently.
Tip #2: Take It a Step Further and Read Your List In Front of a Mirror Each Day
Don't stop reading yet, I promise this is worth it. It might feel weird at first, but looking at yourself in the mirror and truly hearing what you love about yourself can be really powerful. It is easy to write something down on a piece of paper and not think of it again. Staring at yourself in the eyes and saying what you love about yourself is hard to ignore. Humor me and give it a try for a few days and see how it feels.
Tip #3: Practice Saying No
Yup, I know that word doesn't exist in most of our vocabularies, but one of the best things you can do for yourself is learn to say no. Say no to something you don't want to do. Say no to doing for others what they can do for themselves. Say no to sacrificing yourself for everyone else. When you say no to something, you create the space to yes to yourself. Yes to what you need and yes to loving yourself. Create your space, you deserve it!
Tip #4: Ask 5 People in Your Life What They Love About You
Ask them to share what makes you special in their life. Practice just listening and receiving this information without any rebuttal or explanation. Practice being fully present with this person and letting what they are saying sink into your being.
Seeing how we are loved through other's eyes can be really powerful if you let it. So many of us struggle with accepting compliments, but there is nothing wrong with that. Use this opportunity to remember that it is okay to feel special and it is okay to be told you are loved.
Tip #5: Give Yourself an Act of Self-Love Each Day
Each day, decide to do something that will cheer you up, make you feel special, and is solely for you. This might look like going for a walk. This might look like enjoy a sweet dessert without any guilt. This might look like getting a massage or a pedicure. It can be as small as making your bed or reading a magazine. Whatever it is, let go of all guilt and shame around rewarding yourself. Embrace what it feels like to fill your cup up so that you can help fill others.
Tip #6: Make a Self-Love Vision Board
Having visual reminders of why we love ourselves can be so important during difficult times. No one is perfect and there are going to be days when you just don't care anymore, but then you can come home to this board and remind yourself of all the reasons you are amazing.
You can fill your board with pictures of yourself you feel really confident in, statements about things you are proud of about yourself, accomplishments you have achieved, qualities you have. Whatever will remind you of why you love yourself and how important that is belongs on this board. Hang it somewhere that you will see often and let it remind you of what is most important, you!
Tip #7:Declare Yourself A No Self-Judgment Zone
This one is going to be challenging, but you can do it if you really want to. We often look to other people in our lives for love, but really the biggest critic is often in your own head. How often do you say to yourself you need to lose weight, or you wish you looked different, or you want to be more x, y or z.
Yeah, that nasty cycle of self-criticism and judgment is not healthy and you can declare that it stop today if you want. Instead when you feel those thoughts creeping in, gently remind yourself that you choose to no longer listen to them and instead you are listening to empowering, loving thoughts. You don't have to fight yourself or make it battle. You can simply decide not to empower one thought and shift it to something different. It's all about making a choice to stop that icky cycle and create something new.
I know that we are all busy and we want to take care of everyone else, but set an example for those in your life and take time for yourself. If you are lonely this Valentine's Day remember that all the love you desire is already inside of you just waiting to be released. Don't ever let the outside world determine how much you love yourself. It can be a really beautiful journey to fall in love with yourself so I hope you will take the invitation.
I would love to hear how these tips are helping you so please comment on this article or contact me and let me know! Also, if you want to take your self-love to the next level make sure to subscribe to my mailing list so that you can be the first to receive my free self-love survival kit which will include 30 days worth of self-love action items, a weekly action planner, tips/motivation and more.