We all know that February is the month for Valentines and love; in fact February has also been declared “heart” month to bring attention to diseases that affect the heart, like heart disease and high blood pressure. In fact, it is highly encouraged to wear red on Friday, February 5, 2016, to show your support for these causes.
So, as couples prepare for romantic dates with chocolate, champagne, and a date night out to celebrate their love for one another, I am reminded not of the people who do not share this night with a significant other, but of all of us.
Yesterday, I spent part of my day working with a few women from a local shelter and was discussed some doubts they had and one shared that she doubted that she would find someone who would love her as much as she loved herself, I began to question what she meant.
I asked her if she meant that if she loved herself 10% of the time, did that mean that someone just needed to love her 11%? Once I asked her that question, she knew what I was trying to clarify. Why does someone need to love you more when really we just want someone to love us completely as we are?
But loving ourselves has nothing to do with another person…it is how we see ourselves and the amount of love we believe we deserve. If we do not believe that we are lovable, then no matter how much another person loves us, we will reject their love believing that we are unworthy of that kind of love.
We have all suffered a broken heart now and again, and the only way to heal is to forgive. Hard as it may be, that includes forgiving ourselves when we have caused hurt and pain to the ones we love most. It also means that we accept ourselves as we are, not as we wish we would be.
Having never been able to fully love ourselves, we may find it difficult to fully love another. Our defenses have become so strong over the years that allowing not just love to come to us but to give it away becomes almost impossible.
“Don’t be so afraid of love you never give it away.”
It is easy to think of others when we say this, but when was the last time you gave yourself some love?
When we are not feeling so good about ourselves, how do change where our mind goes when no one is around?
- Forgiveness. We all make mistakes and in order for us to move forward, we must let go our past indiscretions. This means forgiving people that have let you down, have hurt you, and have made their own mistakes. But that also means forgiving yourself as well. It means allowing yourself to learn just as we allow others to learn, granting ourselves permission to be better the next day. It is the first step to embracing our journey as we have taken it, not as we wish we had.
- Vocabulary. The words we use play an important part of self-love. It is impossible to love others while hating ourselves…it just doesn’t work that way. We can pretend for so long, but eventually someone picks up on our words of choice and will point them out to us. Not only do the words we use in every day conversation matter, but the words we tell ourselves are extremely important to accepting us for who we are completely. This includes the words we say to ourselves – eventually, if we hear it enough, we begin to believe it. Use positive words only.
- Assessments of others. Let’s face it – we all know those people who just bring us down. They are toxic in every way and do their best to sabotage your good attitude by infecting you with their negativity. Don’t let someone else’s opinion of you or anything you love interfere with your life. They are poison and that means they have one purpose – to ruin you. You always have a choice of the company you keep and saying “goodbye” to the wrong people makes room for the “right” people to come into your life.
- Understanding your worth. Life is tough and you succumbing to its messages of doubt and fear are its way of tricking you into believing that you don’t deserve love. Not even from yourself. When you belief in yourself, you love who you are and accept that you may still have some work to do. (We all do.) You matter and life will always try to convince you otherwise. Life never wins this argument if you don’t let it.
- Loving yourself attracts love from others. People sense when you are withdrawn, negative, and grouchy. Guess what? People don’t like hanging out with those kinds of people. We are naturally attracted to the people who love themselves, love others, and love life. Love is an inside job and we must accept this responsibility with care and attention. It will not happen on its own.
In the end, you have a choice. You always have a choice. Loving anyone comes with risk and possible disappointment, and if we are willing to allow others to learn through life, why do we not give ourselves the same latitude?
We all deserve to be loved and will be by the ones that matter most. Since when did loving ourselves become something that didn’t matter?
This Valentine’s Day, may you find love in it, even if it doesn’t mean someone is bringing you a box of chocolates or taking you out to dinner.
Find it in the beautiful soul you are…for all of the good you bring to the world…find it within your very heart.
So, fall in love this month and every day that follows…fall in love with you.