So it’s Valentine’s Day. And whilst many people enjoy the buzz of commercial love hearts and flowers, many more find it depressing and stressful. Society has made it a day of pressure to look your best, dine at the most fancy restaurant and put all your efforts into impressing your other half. Or else it is a day that reinforces a sense of loneliness, low confidence, reminding us of lost love. It has even gone so far as to suggest that being single is somehow a failing, or shortcoming of you as a person. So whether you’re single, coupled or unsure, let us all use the day to celebrate the most real and true kind of love there is. Self Love.
Being a good friend comes as naturally to us as breathing. We are supportive, complimentary, caring, encouraging and an all round uplifting influence. But we have developed this infuriating belief that loving ourselves is a selfish indulgence. We talk negatively and beat ourselves up for mistakes or failings we have made. But the truth is, you need you before you need anyone else. You need to be comfortable in your own skin before you can make any growth or positive change in the world. Our ability to love unconditionally stems from nurturing a practice of self love. When you truly love and accept yourself, you will find that it guides you through life’s challenges and adversities. You will discover a sense of real happiness.
When you do not love yourself, it leaves a void that cannot be filled by anything or anyone besides yourself. You will spend your life looking for in it other people and places but it will never compare to the love you can give yourself.
What is Self Love?
Self love is loving your mind, body and soul completely, without reservation, without ifs, whens and buts. It is loving yourself at all times, through sickness, difficulties and hardship. When you are in tune with your mind and body, you have the power to own your thoughts and say no without guilt. Self love is allowing yourself to do the things which light you up. It is giving yourself the permission to feel the emotions you feel.
How to Practice Self Love
- Treating yourself doesn’t have to be a special occasion. You can treat yourself to something every day. Whether that’s taking the time to sit down whilst you drink your coffee first thing in the morning, finding ten minutes before bed to read a good book, or lighting a candle in your room. When we practice mindfulness, activities become more nourishing.
- Something as simple as putting on cosy, warm socks when your feet are cold can be seen as an act of self love. Listening to your body acknowledges and affirms that your well being is of importance. So if your body is screaming out for a rest after a long day at work, give yourself the permission to sit down and put your feet up before getting on with making dinner, tidying the kitchen or any other chores that need doing.
- Beauty is not universal, it is in the eye of the beholder. By defining your own perception of beauty you can learn to love yourself completely, without reserve. Waiting until you have lost X amount of weight or got a summer tan won’t help you connect with a true, unconditional self love. You will find yourself constantly searching, seeking, waiting. Everyday, look in the mirror at some part of your body, this could be your feet, your knees, your fingers, your ear lobes and tell yourself why you love it. It may not be perfect, but it is uniquely you – and that is pretty cool.
- Instead of writing a love letter to someone you fancy or admire, how about writing one to yourself. Describe in detail all the things you love about yourself, from your toes to your wit to your birthmark. It’s hard, and may be corny but research has shown that by noting and appreciating the things you admire about yourself can increase your self esteem and self worth.
“The minute I heard my first love story, I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.” Rumi
- I think we all need to do this on a regular basis anyway but try take a break from your phone and social media. Apps like Instagram and Facebook are great and they definitely have the place and purpose, but if you’re feeling down about yourself and life, they simply fuel the fire of your FOMO and anxiety. Life is right in front of you to be lived – it is not inside a screen.
- How do you talk to your friends? Is it condescending and negative? Do you belittle their opinions and judge their decisions. Do you mock their personality? No… so why do you talk like that to yourself? Learning to positively self talk and construct shows you that you believe you are worthy and good enough.
- Meditation allows you to connect with yourself on a deeper level and encourages you to truly accept yourself each and every day, just as you are, exactly as you come. There is an attitude on compassion and kindness without judgement to our thoughts, feelings or bodily experiences. This kind of unconditional love and acceptance is deeply healing food for the soul.
This week I have been guiding my students through a self love and compassion meditation, and I would love to share it with you now.
Love does not come from your friends, family or romantic partner; it comes from within. The more you nurture this love, the greater the love you will have to share with the world. Only you can satisfy your desire for love. Do your heart a favour and just love yourself right now, because as you do you are allowing for more love to come to you in ways you never knew possible.
Join Our Newsletter
Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.