Love Yourself First
Oasis Living Magazine, February 01, 2012
Valentine’s Day is a great time for hopeless romantics and florists, but what is its significance? The day is named after Saint Valentine and was established by Pope Gelasius in 496 AD to commemorate the “love between people.” Some view this day as a special day for love, while others view this day as a great exercise in commercialism.
As a young girl, I grew up watching, reading and dreaming about princess stories. I saw frogs turned into princes who then saved the princess many times on TV. Then, as a teenager and young woman, I realized that Prince Charming was not living in my town. So, I moved out of town! I moved to different countries and continents and traveled for years before I eventually admitted defeat and saw the truth: Prince Charming doesn’t exist at all.
However, the movies we enjoy, the songs we listen to, and the advertising that we are exposed to often focus on misleading messages about love and relationships. There is usually a conflict in the relationship that is then sorted out, and after 90 minutes, everything ends happily ever after. One of the most powerful (or controversial) messages in the movie Jerry Maguire is when Tom Cruise’s character says to his love interest: “You COMPLETE me.” A fantastic phrase to be sure, but quite misleading. No one else can complete you; only YOU can complete you.
Whether you are in a relationship or not, to either attract a good partner or to be the best partner that you can be, you must love yourself first. How do you do that?
Here are some steps to start the journey:
|1.||Self-acceptance: Accept who you really are. We all have strengths and weaknesses. Work on improving some of your weaknesses and then accept the aspects of yourself that you can’t change. Forget about perfection. Like the prince, it doesn’t exist. Instead, discover your uniqueness and embrace your individuality.|
|2.||Control your self-talk: We often hear this little voice in our head that tells us, “I should be better,” “That was stupid,” “I can’t do anything right,” “I must be thinner,” etc. Eliminate all self-criticism, and take control of your self-talk by reframing it into positive affirmations like: “I am enough,” “I’m happy and healthy,” and “I love myself just the way I am.” Every time you hear that little voice, be ready to counteract it by saying and repeating an affirmation.|
|3.||Avoid comparing yourself: This is truly a waste of time and energy. We all have different gifts and different journeys to experience in this life, so comparing yourself to others is very much like comparing apples and oranges. The more comparisons you make, the less self-esteem you will have. So focus on “building” your self-esteem instead. Trust yourself, and have the confidence to pursue your life’s purpose and passions.|
|4.||Be kind and positive: When you start thinking kindly and positively about yourself and others, the love you have for yourself will grow naturally. You become more confident and self-assured. Forgive yourself. We all make mistakes, so there’s no need to beat yourself up over them or for other things you can’t control. Reward yourself when you overcome difficult challenges, and be grateful for all you have and all that you are.”The way you treat yourself sets the standards for others.” –Sonya Friedman|
|5.||Take care of your body: This is the only body you’ve got, so part of loving yourself is giving it all the tools possible to be healthy. Strengthen your body (and mind) by eating nutritious food and exercising. Of course, occasional indulgences are fine as long as they don’t become habits. Fill your lungs with fresh air and go for a walk in the park. Make time for relaxation.|
This Valentine’s Day, appreciate your partner (if you have one), but also appreciate yourself and all that you are. Do something that’s just for YOU!
I must admit that I fall into the category of being a hopeless romantic coupled with a big dose of reality. I believe in love and striving to find the right partner, but I also believe that the more I love myself, the more loveable I am. Remember, a relationship is more than just loving someone else.
“Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.” –Antoine de Saint-Exupery