The beginning of February signals that Valentines Day is near. For those in loving, intimate relationships who put a lot of meaning into this holiday, they may be all atwitter about how they will spend time with a partner or how expressions of love will be symbolized in gifts or other loving acts. For people who are single, there might be a weight associated with the impending day of hearts and flowers, as they imagine what “others” are doing. And let’s not forget about those who couldn’t care less about this “fabricated” holiday and are actually a bit annoyed by the materialism and expectations around all of it.
Wherever you fit on the continuum above, let’s toss it all aside for a minute to consider a fresh paradigm.
No, not the narcissistic kind but a state of appreciation of yourself, who you are, your strengths and what you bring to the table for friends, family and intimate connections. Those who have a strong sense of who they are and are clear on their value, tend to radiate this outward.
When you practice loving yourself it is beneficial in that you are better able to:
- Be mindful. This helps with clarity around what you really want.
- Practice self-forgiveness. You are better able to give yourself a break which is a counter to self-criticism.
- Set boundaries. You are less likely to let people take advantage of you but rather be assertive with your wants and needs.
- Feel joy. When you believe you have value, your set point is one of peace rather feeling less than.
Write a love letter to yourself.
I know, this can be a challenge. It might feel a little counter-intuitive to write to yourself in this way…and even possibly uncomfortably self-indulgent. This will be especially true if you have deeply held doubts and insecurities (which many of us do). But the power in affirming and lifting yourself up is undeniable and the more you internalize your value, the love will reverberate through your very being and outward to others.
Part of the work of self-love is to diminish your fear of what others think, to stop letting your fears about what they think dictate how you feel about yourself. There will always be someone in life who for whatever reason, just doesn’t like.
Healthy self-love and narcissism are two very different things, each born out of different drives and intentions.
If more people truly loved themselves, my therapy practice would certainly shrink. There would be less questions of inherent value, less self doubt, fewer negative stories that people carried about themselves. And all of this would enhance their relationships in that love and security would replace fear and vulnerability within the couple.
If writing yourself a love letter is not comfortable, don’t let that stop you from finding other ways to honor and value yourself. Don’t allow past experiences, mistakes you’ve made or perceptions of what others think dictate your inherent worth.
You ARE lovable.