This month we will hear about love—A LOT with Valentine’s Day a couple of weeks away. We can all agree love makes the world go round, but we may forget that it all begins with each one of us. Whatever your current relationship status is, if you seek love from another, fall in love with yourself first.
But how does one fall in love with oneself, over and over again? Here are my top 5 ways to support you to practice self-love.
- Get Grateful. Right now, list 10 things you love about yourself. It can be anything, from your long eyelashes to your culinary expertise to your steadfast honesty. Ignore your inner critic who inevitably will question every item on your list.
- Forgive. What could you forgive yourself for and completely let go of right now? Maybe it’s not knowing enough, making a wrong decision, forgetting something important, or falling off your fitness routine. In other words, forgive yourself for being human.
- Schedule Self-Care. This scheduled time is all about you, to take care of and love yourself. It can be to attend a yoga class, practice mindfulness meditation, get a massage, schedule your overdue colonoscopy, eat a healthy lunch, or read your favorite novel. Do (at least) one thing a day that is just for you—even if it’s only for 5 minutes.
- Do Something Fun or Funny. When is the last time you did something for the sheer fun of it? See a funny movie, get together with someone who makes you laugh, take an improv class or see a show. Another option is to take your grandchildren, nieces or nephews or other young children on an adventure to the zoo or an indoor gym because kids know how to have fun!
- Practice a Loving Kindness Meditation. Breathe gently, and recite inwardly the following traditional phrases from Jack Kornfield’s book, The Wise Heart. As you repeat these phrases, picture yourself as you are now, or as a young child and hold that image in a heart of loving kindness. Adjust the words and images in any way that works for you.
May I be filled with loving kindness.
May I be safe from inner and outer dangers.
May I be well in body and mind.
May I be at ease and happy.
These activities may feel uncomfortable and even silly initially, but with practice they will become more familiar and you will experience how well they work. There of course are many more, and I am eager to hear the ways you practice self-love. Happy Valentine’s Day to you, the first and last love of your life!