"Thanksgiving is all about being grateful for all that we have and we celebrate it by eating excessive amounts of food. Christmas, we celebrate the birth of our Lord and celebrate it by giving excessive amounts of gifts. But ah! Valentine's Day... the celebration of excessive amounts of love! Enjoy the month of love. Go show somebody that you care!"
- Elizabeth Bourgeret www.facebook.com/EBourgeret
People sadly buy into the misconception that if you have someone in your life, then you must be worthwhile and of course the opposite if you do NOT have a special someone. I'm here to tell you that it is just not so. No wonder there are so many sad singles on February 14th!! You are perfectly "whole" without someone beside you. Loving yourself is the first-step. The truth is that when you love yourself- only then can you love others and others can truly love you.
When you discover your self- worth and your inner and outer beauty you begin to radiate with self-confidence, and the opinions of the masses just don't apply to you any more!
So on this day that is totally dedicated to love, we will reflect inward so we can share the love we find deep inside of ourselves. Here are five helpful hints to begin the realization process of how wonderful you really are!
"To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance." - Oscar Wilde
1. Don't Be So Hard On Yourself!!
We are our own worst critics and I am equally guilty of this myself.
Making Mistakes. Every single person makes mistakes. It's part of being human. The trick is learning what you can from them wherever you can and don't beat yourself up about it. Yes, take responsibility. Yes, fix what you can. Yes, apologize when necessary but then forgive yourself and move on!
Acknowledge your best effort. We can't always be the best, finish first, or snag every promotion. Sometimes giving our very best doesn't win us the trophy, but that is no reason to hang our head. Give yourself credit for putting in the time and the effort and again, learn ways how you could do better next time. (there's always room for improvement!) Celebrate your accomplishments even though things don't always go as successfully as you would have hoped.
2. Love and Respect The One Looking Back From the Mirror
Nope. You're not perfect. Let's get that out of the way right now. But you're not supposed to be. No one is. Can you imagine the pressure of being perfect everyday? (I love my yoga pants a little too much for that kind of responsibility! lol) So, accept that you have flaws and love yourself anyway! When you look at yourself in the mirror focus on those things that you really like about yourself. Your eyes? The shape of your lips? That wonderful curve in the small of your back? Find something and love on it. Let it bring a smile to those awesome lips!
Are you trying to lose weight? (And who isn't still so close to the New Year! haha) Be sure you are able to measure your successes in some way. Inches, pounds, pant sizes. If you don't chart your progress your just going along without purpose. Acknowledge your achievements and if your methods aren't working, analyze your situation, switch things up and try something new! (That being said, make sure you give yourself ample time for a test period. Remember, things don't work overnight.) Another benefit of loving yourself is that it automatically makes you want to take care of your body. For you. Not for the approval of any one else, but because you like the way you feel and look.
Love the things you can't change. There are just some parts of our body that we can't really do anything about. (Well, I suppose if you have enough money, you could do just about anything. But I've never had to worry about that so...) I personally, hate my feet but I also hated having to cover them up constantly for fear of what other people would say about them. Now, I'm barefoot 90% of the time and couldn't be happier. They're the feet I was given. They serve the purpose they were made for, and I'd be pretty miserable without them. (They're still ugly though...) Fix what you can, if you think you need to- love and accept what you can't.
You are unique. There is only one you. We all have different reasons for being here on this earth, at this time. Our past helps shape us, and the present lets us choose who we want to be in our future.
"My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and talents and I lay them both at His feet." - Mahatma Gandhi
3. Be Honest With Yourself
Know your true self. Your strengths, your weaknesses. There will be times in your life that you might feel the need to compromise who you are to attempt to "fit in" or to make someone "like" you. Trust me. You can only keep up with that facade for a short while. When you supress your true self for any length of time, you do more damage in the long run. What was once artificial feelings of love and acceptance, turn to emptiness and self- doubt. I'm not saying not to try new things or expand your horizon. And on the other end of extremes, I'm not suggesting you be so rigid on your likes and dislikes that you don't bend a little. Bottom line- be who you really are. You don't have to pretend to like football because he does. You don't have to go to the ballet because she loves it. You don't have to sign up for yoga just because the rest of the office takes classes.
The real you will eventually come shining through (or break through the restraints!) anyway - so, let people fall in love with the real you from the very beginning.
"The more you love your decisions, the less you need others to love them."
4. Nurture Your Tomorrows
Sometimes, even as much as we want it, we don't have someone else to love us and encourage us or lift us when we're down. That's why loving yourself is so important. It's nice to have someone to lean on but when that's not possible in this season of our life, we have to lean on our own strengths. So make sure you're investing in yourself.
Do something that makes you happy every. single. day. Yes, you can. It's not that hard or expensive. A sweet treat? A favorite song? Watch a favorite movie or sitcom? Dine at your favorite restaurant? Read a favorite blog? Experiment with a new eye-shadow? Go ahead. Make a list. Then work through them. It's fun, you'll thank me later. And what a happy boost you'll get!
Invest in your dreams. As you know, I'm a big advocate of chasing down and reaching your dreams. So this post would be remiss if I didn't make mention of it somewhere! Seems to fit right here! Do something, even if its something small, every day or every week to get you closer to your dream. Not sure what your dreams are? Take an afternoon to brainstorm and write them down. (I'm a big advocate of lists too! lol)
Do things, read things, listen to things that inspire you. Surround yourself with positive things. The walls of my office and bedroom are covered with inspirational quotes and pictures of family and friends and of course my goal lists! The world tries so hard to bring us down. There is already so much negativity trying to get your attention. Let that bad stuff and worry roll of you and focus on the positives! Be inspired!!
5. Being Your Best Self
By following the advice in this blog, I believe you'll realize how wonderful you are. And when that happens, you'll be amazed at the changes that come from inside you AND the world around you! Self-confidence is a beautiful thing. (disclaimer: I should mention that although I try to follow my own advice - I do fall short at times as well. There are moments that I am shy and introverted and just don't want to talk to people or be happy and positive all the time and I get discouraged too, when I don't reach my goals or gain extra weight. But it's okay. Because that's a part of who I am and I'm good with that!)
The more you love yourself the less likely you'll be able to tolerate rude behavior from others. You set the standard of how you want to be treated. I promise you, they will follow your lead as long as you believe in yourself.
And when the time comes and you meet someone you're willing to accept into your world to love, by loving yourself already will only enhance the relationship. You will know who you are and who you want to share your time with. You'll be able to devote yourself to loving him/her without fear because you've been on your own once and you can do it again if need be.
And finally, perhaps most importantly, when you reach this level of self- love, you are more willing and open to loving others. Not for what you might get in return, but for the sake of loving, And that, my friends, is a feeling I cannot even put into words. When you figure out that love is the base of all things, the world just seems a little bit brighter, despite what the news reporters might say.
"If you would be loved, love and be lovable." - Benjamin Franklin
I realize that there is a lot of information crammed into a short little blog-post, but take bites of it when you can and come back for seconds when you're ready...
You are all kinds of wonderful. Are you aware of that? Take time to get to know yourself and love will soon follow.
"Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world." -Lucille Ball