Valentine’s Day is a day usually celebrated with someone whom you love. Whether this love is romantic, platonic, familial, or the love between you and your furry best friend, the day is recognized as a day of love. Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but this doesn’t mean that the celebration of love needs to end. Since you’ve just celebrated shared love, why not switch gears for a moment and celebrate self-love?
“Self-love, self-respect, self-worth: There’s a reason they all start with ‘self.’ You can’t find them in anyone else.” -Anonymous
It is often the case that we give more love to others than we do to ourselves. We neglect to love the one person who we will spend every second of the entirety of our lives with. What is often not realized is that the more we love ourselves and strengthen the relationship that we have with ourselves, the more capable we are of sharing our love with others.
“Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological, and spiritual growth. Self-love is dynamic; it grows by actions that mature us. When we act in ways that expand self-love in us, we begin to accept our weaknesses as well as our strengths, have less need to explain away our short-comings, have compassion for ourselves as human beings struggling to find personal meaning, are more centered in our life purposes and values, and expect living fulfillment through our own efforts”- Deborah Khoshaba, Psy.D, Psychology Today
The seven steps that Dr. Khoshaba prescribes are to become mindful, act on what you need rather than what you want, practice good self-care, set boundaries, protect yourself, forgive yourself, and to live intentionally. Imagine if you treated yourself with the unconditional love that you bestow on the people in your life that are dearest to you? Taking care of yourself first isn’t selfish.
You’ve likely heard the claim that you can’t love another person until you love yourself first. And well this is not entirely true; the significance of this claim is that our ability to love comes from within. There are endless ways to express self-love.
Taking care of your physical self by eating healthy, exercising, getting sufficient sleep, staying hydrated, maintaining your oral health, keeping up with annual medical check-ups, and just listening to the signs your body gives you is self-love. Taking care of your spiritual self through meditation, yoga, spending time in nature, journaling, and practicing gratitude is self-love.
Here are a few simple ways you can start practicing self-love today:
Create a gratitude journal
Implement a “treat yourself” day
Make a list of all the things that you like about yourself
Pay it forward
Go for a long walk
Learn something new
Let go of what no longer serves you
Clean out your closet
Take a nap
Make a cup of tea and read
Designated a “no screens” time
Get a massage
Write a letter to yourself and don’t open it for one year
Take a hot bath
Create a self-love mantra such as “I love and accept me for me”
When we take care of ourselves, we are better suited to take care of others, and that’s really how the world goes around. As the Beatles once sang, “All you need is love.”