Be Your Own Damn Valentine (aka How to Really Love Yourself)

People often talk about loving yourself as going to get a massage or getting your nails done and while making time for yourself is definitely an act of love, it can also be helpful and often more impactful to think of your relationship with yourself like you would with your mate, partner, or best friend.  What are the things you do on a day in and day out basis that show your authentic love?  Take a peek at the ideas below and then let me know how many you implement on a regular basis in the comments below!    

Speak to yourself like you would to a child  

I like using this analogy because saying that you speak to yourself like you would a loved one doesn’t always work.  How often have you gotten into a fight with a significant other, partner, parent, or sibling and said some not very nice things?  Probably more than you care to remember.  But how many times have you lashed out a child?  Probably not nearly as many and definitely not with the same intensity.  When you feel yourself having unrealistic expectations, judging just a little too much, or berating yourself for things you did or didn’t do, imagine saying those EXACT same things to a child (if you can imagine saying them to your seven year old self, even better).  It makes it just that much harder to be so belligerent and shows us just how brutal we were being on ourselves to begin with.     

Say no when you mean no and yes when you mean yes  

When we don’t value ourselves we tend to put other people’s needs before our own.  We’re more than happy to please other people first, often tricking ourselves into believing that “seeing them happy makes me happy”.  That might be true, but you cannot pour from an empty cup forever and when we continually and consistently put other people before ourselves we drain our cups before they ever get refilled.  When we do love and value ourselves, we want to spend time ON ourselves and WITH ourselves so that if we choose to do so, we can be there for others (and more importantly) be there for ourselves.  

Acknowledge but then move past mistakes, guffaws, and mishaps with little effort (and in a relatively short amount of time)

When we dislike ourselves, we often spend A LOT of time going over everything we think we did wrong.  We want to analyze and recreate the situation so we can figure out where we made “the mistake” and how to make it better (even if there was no mistake to begin with).  When we love ourselves though we’re able to acknowledge that we’re not ever going to be perfect.  (It’s impossible and would be boring anyways (I don’t know about you but I have zero desire to become a robot)).  Instead we’re able to look at situations that didn’t turn out the way we had planned or thought they would as learning experiences and instead of scolding ourselves for doing X or not doing Y, we acknowledge, process, and then add it to our arsenal of experience/wisdom/knowledge for future reference.   
Do things because you want to do them or because you genuinely think that they’ll be good for you, not because someone else thinks so or because you think you SHOULD  

When we don’t have a firm grasp on the love of ourselves we get really caught up in everyone else’s thoughts and opinions of us.  We believe that they’re the only ones who can tell us that we’re smart, pretty, lovable, and most importantly, worthy.  But when we love ourselves, we know that we’re really the only ones who can do that and have it actually mean something.   We value our own opinions and then feel 100% comfortable doing the things that feel good to us because we trust ourselves.  That in turns builds a beautiful cycle of positive reinforcement that strengthens the bond we have with ourselves.  because at the end of the day you could have a million people tell you that you’re beautiful, talented, gorgeous, and impressive but if you don’t really believe it you’ll continue to need that validation forever and ever.  

Have a vision for your life and actively work towards achieving it with the knowledge and flexibility that it could change (and it’s perfectly OK if it does)  

When we don’t have the confidence that naturally arises when we genuinely love ourselves, we get super caught up in the day to day because it’s all that seems important (or sometimes it’s all that we can manage to handle at the time).  When we love ourselves we know we’re capable of so much more than just going through the sometimes mundane tasks of day to day living and so we act like it, working to build a life that we’re not only proud of but that we can truly call our own.  This might look like stepping away or choosing not to engage in petty drama or choosing not to get stressed out about minor miscommunications.  When we have the confidence to believe that we are capable of creating something bigger and then choose to go and make that creation come to fruition, we realize that the “small stuff” is actually just that, small.  

Be patient with yourself as you work to implement these ideas.  Just like a relationship with any other valentine, it takes time to fall in love!  

Happy Valentine’s Day 2017