Currently can't stop singing Justin Biebers "Love Yourself." It's unfortunate that the message of that song is the opposite of the message I'm trying to convey...but it's just too catchy I can't help myself.
ANYWAYS--With Valentine's Day around the corner (*ahem tomorrow), LOVE is in the air. Everywhere you go there's pink + red hearts, balloons, flowers, cute stuffed animals, fancy jewelry, and allllll the lovey things. Confession--I actually love Valentine's Day. I love taking the opportunity to remind those who mean most to me of just how much I love them. I love making cheesy valentines with my 3 year old in preparation for his preschool party, and I love having a reason for a designated date night with my hottie hubs. And I have a total love/hate relationship with the commercialism of it all. I'm a sucker for a good card, but think they take it over the top with alllllllll the stuffed animals with the little hearts. (Just finished cleaning out my kid's stuffed animal stash so I think that's where that issue is rooted.)
While you are plenty busy crossing all the one's we love off our to-get-gifts-list, you may have left off an important person: YOU. I know it feels selfish right? But loving yourself is the least selfish thing you can do in this life and here's why. When you love yourself it clears the way to allow yourself to more fully love others.
Lately I have been implementing a morning routine of self-care where I take the time to practice yoga, meditation, religious/scripture study + prayer. At first I had a very difficult time doing this. I felt bad leaving my children alone in the other room while I took this time for me. But what I've found is that on the days that I take this time for myself, I am able to give so much more of me to my children; in a way that I hadn't before been able to give. On the days I take that time for myself I am more patient, more loving, and more connected.
Loving yourself does not mean being ecstatic about every aspect of your life and every part of you. Loving yourself does not mean putting your worth above that of others. Loving yourself simply means to accept and have a deep appreciation for ourselves. We tend to love ourselves conditionally--saying "I'll really love myself once I lose the weight", or "I'll really love myself after I get that job" and "I'll really be able to love myself once I'm married and know someone else loves me too." This is a toxic way of thinking, and it's time to stop it. Love is something we choose. The same way we choose to be angry, or hatred, we too can choose love.
In the words of my girl, Gabrielle Bernstein: When we fulfill our function, which is to truly love ourselves and share love with others, then true happiness sets in."
Here are 3 ways you can Go + LOVE yourself:
1. Use your words.
Don't be afraid to tell yourself how much you love you. Positive affirmations have been a game changer in my life. Take a piece of paper and write down 3 positive statements about yourself and repeat them aloud. If this feels outside of your comfort zone, check out some free affirmation samples HERE. I would also highly recommend getting yourself a The Universe Has Your Back Card Deck--these cards are wonderfully illustrated and contain positive affirmations and statements that make such an impact and difference.
2. Get physical.
Recently, I have discovered the power of self-love through physically caring for my body. Whether this be through a 15 minute yoga sequence or an hour long walk with my boys moving physically stimulates my mind and reminds me of how thankful I am to have a body that functions the way that it does. Now this doesn't mean go sign up to run a half marathon (however if that's on your list of goals--go you!), it simply means mindfully practicing some sort of physical activity all the while recognizing your gratitude for being able to do that practice. For the at-home-yogi I would highly recommend the Yoga Studio app. Not only does it have great yoga sequences, but also some guided meditation practices.
3. Listen to your heart.
If you feel that you are doing something with the sole intention that it makes someone else happy, stop it. Now, I don't mean doing something out of the kindness of your heart like service, or caring for your children. I mean things like, enrolling for a course simply because your friend asked you to. Or hosting an event because it's what the club you're associated with expects...if something you are doing goes against the passions of your heart STOP it. You're not doing yourself, or those you are "helping" any favors. Because here's the thing--if you're doing something begrudgingly, you're more than likely not doing it well. And if you're not doing it well, you're not fully serving those you think you are helping. Words I've carried with me since my youth that were spoken by a religion instructor are ones that have helped me live this to my best ability--"do what tastes good to your soul. Just like when you eat something that doesn't taste good to you, you typically stay away from that food. The same goes for your soul. If something doesn't taste good to your soul, don't do it."
Have any additional ways you like to practice self love? Please share, I'd love to hear them.
Happy Valentine's Day!