Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and the Internet was awash with declarations of love from one person to another. But what about love for ourselves?
Surely this time of year is a wonderful time to declare that love for ourselves. If you are reading this, know with every fibre of your being that you are worth it. You are a lovely, fabulous, unique person. If you feel discomfort at reading this or reject it immediately, then today is an ideal day to start to explore that, to look where that belief comes from and what it brings you and costs you in your life. Be honest….
There is nobody in this entire world who is quite like you – with your strengths, your vulnerabilities, your foibles and your way of seeing the world. This individuality means that you will – whether you know it or not – give something to those around you every single day. But what about giving to you?
I work with so many people who say that declaring that love – or even like – for themselves is ‘weird’ or ‘ arrogant’ or ‘only for tree huggers’.
When organising a day out, lovely meal or party for someone else, how many of us will put huge amounts of effort, time and love into this? But what about if you were to organise a lovely meal, party or day with all your favourite things, all those things that conjure pleasure, luxuriousness, fun in your mind. Just for you. Nobody else. Just you.
How does that feel? What thoughts come into your head instantly at the thought of this? Again, be honest with yourself about this….
I have worked with so many people who say that they love to cook or bake for others but never, ever cook for themselves but they can’t really explain why – other than often “it’s not worth it, just for me”.
I recognise this as myself in the past – I would work myself to the bone for others because I thought that that was what made me a good person. But really, all I was doing was spending lots of time on others so I didn’t have time to really have that relationship with myself. I was scared of looking inside of me but I was worried what I would find there. Looking after others was so much easier. Or so I thought.
I learnt through illness and therapy that the way to contentment was to love me, to lavish time and attention on me and then I could give to others. Without it, I was simply going through the motions because I was in search of something that I thought would help. What I really needed was me. I needed me to be there for me.
This Valentine’s weekend, I made myself a heart out of Mosaic. Each mosaic square represents something I love to do and somewhere I love to be that gives to me. It is full of turquoise and blue and green because I love the Ocean – being by the Coast feeds me in a way that I can’t explain. It has lots of white in it which represents my spirituality and what that means to me – and my lovely white dog, Martha who gives me just as much as I give her. It contains red – my passion for love and life and for so many things and vintage tiles of flowers which represent my love of the natural world.
If you made a heart of all the things that you gave to you – what would it contain? What would you do to give to you?
Here are some ideas:
Nourishing, wonderful food
The time and space to read a good book
A walk somewhere beautiful (I’m off to do this in a while)
Watching a film that inspires, lifts and moves you
A candlelit bath
Dancing to music in anyway you want to.
These are just some of my ideas – but in order for you to love you, they need to be yours. Make today the day when you start to explore what you can do to give that love, care and attention you give to others to you.