BE YOUR OWN VALENTINE: 7 WAYS TO DEEPEN YOUR SELF LOVE THIS YEAR (AND EVERY DAY)
Love. It’s a wonderful part of life we share with other people.
But often, we forget there’s another form of endearment that matters most: self-love.
Self-love is the life-blood of living the type of life we desire, such as work we enjoy, healthy relationships, and the ability to thrive. So this year, let’s vow to be our own valentines first and foremost. Here are seven ways to do it.
1. First, Understand What Self-Love Really Means
Self-love is not conditional. It doesn’t need to be earned or proven—it’s about loving, accepting, and showing yourself compassion however you are right now.
It’s also not simply candle-lit bubble baths or mani-pedis (although those can be great).
Self-love is deep—and sometimes it’s hard, and it can be quite a practice… but it’s also a wonderful journey.
Self-love can elevate your life, help you feel more positive, more productive, and less stressed, and it can be your anchor. You can cultivate deep love within yourself, no matter what life throws your way.
2. Be Mindful of Your Inner Voice
We all have an internal dialogue (known as self-talk), but most of us aren’t aware of how it sounds.
How do you talk to yourself when something you consider bad happens? When something good happens? What types of thoughts run through your head about yourself? Do you chastise yourself or call yourself names?
Most of us have harsh inner critics that say things we’d never voice to someone we love. For example, you might make a mistake at work and think:
I keep messing up. I’m such an idiot. I can’t do anything right!
Pay attention to your internal dialogue and seeing how you can make it more loving. Speak to yourself as if you’re speaking to a loved one. In the scenario above, you might respond with:
I made a mistake, but everyone makes mistakes. I can recognize what went wrong and how to improve going forward, but the mistake is not a reflection of who I am as a person. And there are many things at work I do very well!
3. Do Things Just for You
If we’re used to doing things for everyone else, we might be afraid to spend time on ourselves and worry that it’s selfish. But “you” time is not selfish; it’s necessary and a powerful act of self-love.
Give yourself permission to do something you enjoy. It doesn’t have to have a purpose other than it makes you happy. That could be spending time:
- Listening to music you like
- Writing in a journal or on a blog
- Reading or watching a TV show you like
- Cooking or baking
- Going for a walk alone or sitting quietly and breathing—great times to think about life or work through emotions you’ve been feeling
- Painting, taking pictures, or anything that lets you express yourself creatively
- Getting food or seeing a movie by yourself
If you’re limited on time for these things, that’s okay. Start with little moments during the day. Practice making them as important as anything else you do.
This also includes saying “no” more. Say no to things that make you feel drained or don’t serve your emotionally or physically. Open up room for getting to know and love yourself instead.
4. Remember You Are Always Worthy
There’s nothing you can do to take away your worth as a human being or that makes any one person more worth of happiness than you.
It doesn’t make sense to compare yourself to anyone else in this world, because none of us are exactly the same—and no one else is like you. Remember that by simply being you, you’re inherently worthy of love, especially from yourself!
5. Give Yourself What You Actually Need
This is sometimes different than what you want.
Some things in life that feel good are actually harmful or hindering of our progress, such as eating junk food for every meal, scrolling through Facebook all day, or doing drugs.
Self-love means recognizing what is truly good for you—what you really need to be happy and feel fulfilled with your life—and doing or working towards those things.
This includes health and wellness: nourishing your body with whole foods, moving your body each day, and practicing mindfulness and self-compassion, and being around people who lift you up.
6. Let Go of the Past
If there’s something you’re still holding on to from the past, give yourself permission to let it go.
Maybe this means forgiving yourself, or maybe it’s about forgiving someone else. Maybe both. Love yourself by accepting humanness—in others and in yourself—and making an intention to move forward.
7. Reach Out for Help When You Need It
We can’t do it all alone. And asking for help can be scary, but self-love involves recognizing when you need help and knowing there are people who are willing to provide the help you deserve.
Think about those in your life who love and/or want to support you, such as parents, siblings, close friends or coworkers, priests or spiritual leaders, or a therapist.
These are some of the most meaningful ways to make space for self-love in your life and be a valentine to yourself every day of the year. Which will you give yourself today?