Valentine’s Day can be a difficult holiday for many people. For some, it’s a harsh reminder of the absence of having someone special in your life, whether it be from breakups, divorce or death. It can seem like everyone around you and everyone on social media is being celebrated and loved. How about using these reminders as cues to start loving yourself more and then carry it forward each day toward yourself and others around you. Like traveling on an airplane, we’re reminded to put on our own oxygen mask before helping others. Once we learn to love ourselves, it’s easier to love those around us.
So, with the pressures all around us of buying our special someone the next hippest gift, that beautiful bouquet of flowers or that delicious dark chocolate, how do we get started? Here are a few steps that will help you be a loving being to yourself and others and live a fulfilling life:
Fall in Love with Yourself. How are we supposed to fall in love with others until we have truly found the love within ourselves? Like a flower that needs water to grow, we need to learn to nurture ourselves in every way.
Forgive Yourself. We’ve all made mistakes in the past. Learn to let go of the cause and outcome and remove that 50-pound baggage from your shoulders. When we let go, we let love come in.
Make Positive Affirmations Every day. Reframe your mind with positive and loving affirmations. It can be as easy as “I love and accept myself completely and unconditionally.” You can read these affirmations several times a day out loud to yourself, when you’re sitting on the toilet, driving the car or getting up in the morning.
Nurture Your Dreams. When you nurture your dreams, you will start to love the life that you’re leading fully. If this means reevaluating your career or taking that dream vacation or simply taking up a new sport, living what you love will create joy in every step of your journey.
Let Go of Worry. Surrendering your outcome allows you to let go of worry. Knowing that everything will turn out fine no matter what will bring in acceptance that you will be OK. Think of the last challenge or hurdle you had to jump ... now skip to the end ... what happened? We’re you OK in the end? The majority of time, the answer is yes; it’s not worth tearing ourselves up in the meantime.
Learn to See the Beauty Around You. When you learn to see beauty in everything, you’ll start to see the beauty in yourself, and this will only grow. We can take our best cue from the children around us — learn to smell the flowers again, notice everything, feel everything and smile!
Relax. We live in a world of constantly downloading information from work to the newest techno device. Learn to give yourself space and take breaks every now and then so that you can nurture your body and rehabilitate your mind. Fill your time with silence, soothing music and visions of beauty; anything that nourishes your soul.
Eliminate Self Criticism. Let go of your “flaws” and shortcomings. Instead, learn from them and learn to love the reflection in the mirror from the physical to the emotional to your brilliant mind. Learn to stop judging yourself and instead love how you’re different from everyone else.
Be Kind and Positive. Like attracts like. When we are thinking kindly and positively about ourselves, the love you have for yourself grows and affects everyone around us. It is said one person can affect 75,000 other people. Wow, that’s a lot of people! Simply giving yourself a smile about your day can brighten another person’s day.
Look After Your Body. Focusing on good nutrition and exercise allows your flower inside to grow. Your body is a temple, and you should treat it with respect, love and care.
These are just a few things to get you started to start loving yourself not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day of the year. This is infectious and everyone around you will feel this love emanating from you and want to take part in it and spread this joy. Think about how this could change our world ... starting with ourselves!