Since it’s Valentine’s Day, I thought I would bring up the subject of love. I want to discuss Self-love because all love is not just about that with another.
When most of us are looking for love it’s external: we want to “fall in love” with someone, who in turn will have similarly strong feelings for us – it necessitates the “someone” to be fulfilled. Fairy tales are made from this stuff, as are movies, books and songs. This paradigm leaves us thinking the only way we will experience love is if we happen to receive it from someone else, whereas we can in reality at the very least experience love of oneself. I cannot think of a Hollywood blockbuster that is about the journey to loving oneself. It doesn’t get the glamour and stage it deserves. Perhaps it seems selfish, boring or even self-indulgent. However, I believe it to be absolutely the opposite.
Have you ever had a day when you felt really good, had great energy and you could feel it expand and emanate to those around you? The love within you grows the love within others.
Could we give ourselves love that would feel as exciting and fulfilling as love from another? We’ve all heard the advice that “to love another you must first love oneself”. We also know the song “looking for love in all the wrong places”!! It’s one of those things we know to be true, but what does that even mean? How do we get there?
How do I love myself you ask? I imagine that we have to nurture a relationship with ourselves with the same energy and effort – if not more – than we would nurture a partnership, a friendship or even… a child! After all, loving yourself helps you to love the other in a more real and authentic manner, as they deserve.
It has been my experience in working with others that people often give much more love to others than they give to themselves. In actuality treating themselves in a way they would never treat another, over – working, not getting enough sleep, not eating well, binge drinking, and a lot of self doubt, inner negative self dialogue, such as “I look fat today”, “I’m weak”, “I’m not smart enough”, “I’m not attractive”, etc, making ourselves our worst critic.
When I ask my clients and friends about self-love, it usually gets lumped in with self-care: “I love myself by going to the gym” or “I get a pedicure every month”. These are great ways to take care of our external selves and can feel nice, but are by nature, superficial. So what about getting deeper than that? After all within us there are the things we cannot see: our thoughts, our self-image, self-dialogue, our doubts and feelings towards ourselves. In essence, how do we take care of our mental and emotional health, which is after all what self-love is all about?
These are difficult questions that don’t yield ready answers, and may vary wildly from individual to individual. But one thing is clear: that having a structured plan, and personal support, to think about how you can love yourself better is a powerful life-tool that can help make great changes.
I think the feeling of loving oneself is undervalued and underdeveloped.. So for Valentine’s Day I have a challenge for you!!!
Ask yourself the following: “What would loving myself look like? How can I give love to myself like I give to others? How can I be thoughtful, considerate and caring towards myself?” Consider some applications of love, put them into your calendar this week. After the week reflect on how that made you feel and consider an ongoing appointment with yourself, working on loving you consistently. Stuck? Please book an appointment with myself and let me support you in the self-loving journey!
If you have come up with some good self-loving ideas and want to share, please most them on my page @thewellwaycoaching.
Wishing myself and all of you all the love this Valentine’s! Spread the love.