It’s hard to ignore the approach of Valentine’s day: love hearts fill every shop window; supermarkets stock up on romantic meals for two; colleagues harp on about their perfectly planned evening. For many, this time of year can be lonely, reaffirming a belief that they are unlovable or unwanted. Feelings of regret and grief are amplified, whilst old memories are stirred up, bringing about a range of difficult emotions.
You see, there is a lot of emphasis in our culture about romantic love, and the necessity of finding our soul mate, or ‘the one’ to miraculously fill a void inside or solve all our problems. It suggests that without this love from another person, we can’t be happy or fulfilled. That life is empty, somehow. And so whilst we go around the world in search of this romantic love, we ignore or forget the one person who is not only brilliant, but has some amazing love to give. And that person is YOU.
As a teenager I found myself in several long term relationships. Desperate for someone’s love and affection, I would give myself to that person completely, forgoing my identity and values each time. And when the relationship ended I would feel lost and confused with even less understanding of who I really was or what I wanted from life. Looking back it is clear to see that my happiness was totally reliant upon these relationships and a sense of being loved. I had never taken the time to get to know and love myself in my early years because I was under the illusion that romantic love was to key to genuine happiness.
Through self exploration and meditation I have come to the conclusion that true inner peace is actually borne out of a kind relationship with yourself. Loving yourself is one of the most valuable lessons you can ever learn. Some people spend their lives searching for their soulmates, for love, but I truly believe that the most satisfying love you’ll ever find lies within you. When you fall in love with yourself you gain a deep appreciation of your own worth and capabilities.
Falling in love with yourself also means that you genuinely like yourself, and you enjoy spending time alone. And if we’re the person who keeps us company all the time and we want to be happy, isn’t it important that we appreciate the beauty within? How can we be happy if we don’t really like the person we hang out with? In contrast, if we learn to love ourselves, then we’ll always be around someone who loves us, and be happier, we’ll be more confident, secure, positive, fun.
Meditation is a great way to develop a healthy relationship with ourselves as it allows us to move past all the superficial nonsense, like the layers and stories and identities and go directly to the essence of who we truly are. In meditation, the voice of the ego momentarily fades away and in that stillness with find our most authentic self. The more often we connect to this place the deeper and stronger the bond becomes and we can’t help but love who we see. With practice and commitment we can build up an ability to stay centred in self-love.
Lots of love for you and me and everyone in between,
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