Happy Valentine’s Day! I want to talk about self love today because Valentine’s Day is not just for couples in my book. We often do so much for others and we treat others with love and kindness, but how are you at loving YOU? I’m hoping that you take time out to love on yourself and treat yourself as good as you treat those around you. This is really important as this self love thing trickles down to every aspect of our lives-including our relationships with others. It affects our self worth, our own personal happiness and our ability to live inspired! It is also part of a healthy self care practice. Today I want to tell you how wonderful YOU are and encourage you to love on yourself this Valentine’s Day and beyond. The relationship we develop with ourselves is one of the most important relationships we develop in our lifetime!
Throughout my journey of living inspired the past decade +, I’ve had to grow into this space of unconditional love for me. Seeing myself the way God sees me and realizing that my worth doesn’t come from all the impressive things I can “prove” that I can do, a degree (or lack of one), a financial status, or even my outer appearance. My worth just IS. My value is there simply because I am here in this space and time and God chose me and created me to be here now. And so it is the same with you dear friends.
For the sake of transparency, I will tell you that years ago when some things happened to me that majorly changed my life, I struggled at times with self worth. It didn’t help that some people threw comments my way that fed into my new found insecurities. I think it’s important to let my readers know this stuff because I am pretty perky and probably make living inspired look easy. It does mostly come with ease now, but it has been a process to get where I am today. Unconditional self love IS part of my journey towards living inspired and reclaiming a joy filled life for myself.
You see, I was the classic overachiever in my growing up years and I think people had me on a sort of pedestal. There were high expectations of me-many of which I even placed on myself. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with expectations, but there needs to be room for imperfection. There needs to be room for God’s grace. When things happened that were out of my control and I fell down the rabbit hole (like Alice slipping into Wonderland if you will), I wasn’t sure of much of anything. Not what I would do, where my life would go, or how I would find my way out. I sure as heck didn’t feel like a success. It was then that I started to discover that my prior notions of success and self love were a bit off.
They were off because they had conditions. Here I was loving others unconditionally, despite all THEIR issues and imperfections, but I wasn’t doing the same for myself. I had always had a healthy self esteem in my school years, but when life got hard for me much of that fell to the wayside. It fell to the wayside because I defined my loveability by how I looked to others on the outside. Not just my physical appearance (although that too), but my achievements and my abilities and where I was going in life. Since at that time my life was going nowhere and even my abilities to do things I used to do with great ease had diminished, I found myself wanting to hide. Who would love me if I couldn’t “prove” myself to be everything everyone expected me to be (everything I always had been), and more importantly could I love this different version of myself?
Now I can’t go into it all because it would be a book, but I will tell you in many ways I am glad I fell on my butt after high school. I have learned to redefine self love in a way that is no longer conditional with attachments to me having to be a certain way to be loved. It is a process and at times I still grapple with that, but I have grown into a deeper place of self appreciation and celebration! When you start softening to your own inadequacies and treating yourself like your own best friend your cup of love rises up within and the overflow gets out there in the world. I will keep sharing this part of my journey with ideas on how you can celebrate YOU more too. Which brings me to a story I have today on how I kicked off my new year with self love! I thought this would be a perfect practice for you to incorporate into Valentine’s Day :D .
I started my new year off ceremoniously by writing myself a love letter and giving myself a surprise gift under the tree. This business of writing love letters to oneself was foreign to me until I took a writers program called WINS with San Francisco based author SARK. She coached us to do this on one of the live calls and I have to tell you that at first I didn’t even know HOW. I thought it seemed silly and it felt a bit egocentric and awkward. I did it anyway. I had to ask SARK herself for help with it because I didn’t even know what to write. Even after conversing with her I still didn’t 100% get it. That is how this love letter business started :).
I made plans for a New Year’s date with myself to sit in the quiet of evening by twinkle light to open the wrapped gift and love letter that I had placed under the tree weeks prior. Before Christmas I took a small amount of the money I made in 2014 and treated myself to something I had been wanting for years. I had been wanting a glittering piece of drusy quartz and I found a designer ring for a steal on QVC (it only came in platinum drusy, but drusy comes in all kinds of beautiful shades-blue being my favorite). I am very practical in my purchases and most of my extra money is spent on gifts for others, so this was a frivolous thing for me!
In case you are wondering how I could surprise myself- well I ordered online and fought the urge to open it ahead of time, wrapped it straight away without looking at it, and put it under the tree. Then I sat down and wrote myself a love letter.
It finally became clear how to do it. I just wrote it as if I were writing to my dearest friend, telling her all the things I was proud of her for and all of the things I loved about her. I placed it with the gift that I had wrapped in my prettiest paper-the sort of thing I would do for someone I love. It was a symbolic way to reflect on my growth in 2014 as I embraced this next chapter of my journey in 2015. I had such fun opening it in January and the ring turned out to be as cool as I had hoped.
Here are some photos of my ring the night I opened it:
I forgot to take a photo of it wrapped.
The prongs are really different, huh? The design is called “starry night” and you can get necklaces and bracelets with that same textured design (Michael Dawkins elements at QVC).
Each time I wear it now I am reminded of the things I am proud of accomplishing in 2014 and it is a reminder of loving myself. So now I have a challenge for you today-
Treat yourself as good as you do others. If you dedicate lots of your time to help people or do things for your kids, spouse, etc. like I do, remember to do these things for you too! Be your own best friend! Is your self dialogue as kind as your dialogue with a friend? You don’t need a partner to celebrate Valentine’s Day. The love doesn’t have to come from outside of yourself. You don’t have to wait for someone else to give you a love letter or flowers. This also goes for your birthday or any milestone you’d like to celebrate yourself for. I would also like to offer that it does not mean you are an egomaniac. Treating yourself as good as you treat others is healthy!
If you feel inspired to do so, why not do something for yourself that you would do for a friend (i.e. take yourself somewhere, pamper yourself or buy yourself a gift)? Try writing yourself a love letter or if that feels weird, make a list of the things you love about YOU.
“Lovin’ you is easy cause you’re beautiful… LA LA LA LA , LA LA LA LA , LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA “
Listen to the Latest Radio Podcast on Self Love HERE:
Sending you Lots of Love,