February is commonly referred to as the month of love. One special day, February 14, you shower your sweetie with gifts, candy, flowers, dinner or whatever way you choose to express your love.
I think it’s wonderful if you have a Valentine and want to make that person feel loved and special on that particular day, but what about the rest of the month, the year, or a lifetime? That is where we need to step in and learn to love ourselves. How do we do that? We can start by taking care of ourselves and making ourselves feel loved and cared for.
The Importance of Self Care
I just got back from a Caribbean cruise a few days ago and I had a lot of time to observe patterns of self-love and personal care from roughly 6,600 fellow cruisers from all over the world.
First, I noticed the people that clearly cared about their well-being and emotional love. They would walk about the ship with a sense of confidence and security. They made healthier eating choices and dressed nicely for all ship special occasions. They were pleasant to everyone they came in contact with.
The next group were the people looking for love in mass consumptions of food. It didn’t matter what their body type was, it was the actions and expressions in their eyes. They never really looked down to see what they were eating and enjoying the tastes. They basically stared out the window or straight ahead just shoveling in “the love.”
Self Acceptance and Forgiveness
I believe that for most of us, the hardest thing to do is forgive ourselves. We don’t feel smart enough, healthy enough or attractive enough. We feel we could be better as a parent or a child of an elderly parent, and the list goes on. You need to give yourself a break. You are doing the best that you can, but I am afraid you are the one suffering the most. It’s time to make some changes.
The heavy drinkers were usually alone or with like people. They were usually loud and obnoxious, and I felt it was their “brave” way to get attention, for someone to notice them and maybe give them some love.
I know we are all busy with work, family and just trying to keep up with the day-to-day craziness, but as Ann Richards once wrote, “If you think of taking care of yourself as selfish, change your mind. If you don’t, you are simply ducking your responsibilities.”
Exercises for Self Care
One of my favorite self-help authors, Louise L. Hay, was always writing about the importance of self-love. She had this one simple exercise to do where you had to look at yourself in the mirror – making eye contact with yourself – and say these words, “I love you. I really love you.” Sounds easy enough, but I actually knew people who couldn’t do it, no matter how hard they tried.
One such person was my mother. My mom was amazing – smart, pretty, funny, multi-talented, yet she could not love herself. All I can think is that she did hang on to a lot of toxic people in her lifetime and that could have been her problem.
So how are we going to work on some self-love for us? A little alone time seems to help me gather my thoughts and put my mind at peace. Take a nap if you are tired. Put off for tomorrow what you don’t feel liking doing today.
Fix yourself up. Apply some makeup, get your hair done, a manicure and pedicure, or a massage. Maybe just a nice, long bubble bath and a treat of your favorite snack or beverage. Before you know it, you are really going to be loving that person in the mirror!
My hang-up for years was to buy a new outfit and carefully put it in the closet until I felt I had a special enough reason to wear it. It used to drive my husband crazy. Finally, I got over that and now I wear clothes that make me happy right in the moment.
We all know, for the most part, how to eat properly, drink sensibly and exercise. So, there is no room for self-loathing or bad choices.
It’s time for you to love yourself. If you can’t do that, then how are you ever going to really be able to love anyone else?