As an unattached person on Valentine’s Day, there’s a temptation to give the day the finger, or, in my more enlightened moods, simply ignore it.
But I think there’s an opportunity today to shine a light on something even more important than the gooey, Hallmark card picture of love we get bombarded with.
I hereby declare February 14th Love Yourself Day!
Why do I think that’s so important? Because it’s a vital piece of the Ripple Revolution puzzle. It’s a key component of both living a fulfilling, energized life and maximizing what you have to give. (And not-so-coincidentally, it an integral aspect of being in a healthy, mutually gratifying, growth-inducing relationship.)
The self-love continuum
Let’s get realistic. Most of us have times when we don’t love ourselves. I myself have a particularly savage inner critic that is definitely NOT coming from a place of self-love. So practicing self-love isn’t a black-and-white, either/or question. We live on a continuum, with self-love on the one extreme, and self-loathing on the other.
While it would be nice to simply sit soaking in 100% self-love, for most of us that’s probably not realistic. So instead of aiming for a non-stop state of self-love (and then beating up on ourselves when we don’t achieve it), we can direct our efforts at continually moving towards that end of the continuum.
That means catching ourselves when we slip towards self-loathing and finding a way to love ourselves. That slip might be how we talk to ourselves, or it might be the choices we make that we know are going to affect us adversely (that half-gallon of ice cream you just put down? Probably not going to move you toward the self-love end of the spectrum).
Loving yourself in practice
That’s all very good in theory, but if you’ve ever found yourself on that slippery slope towards the wrong end of the spectrum, you know that reversing your direction is easier said than done.
One of my favorite books on the matter is The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion. It’s so good that I keep a highlighted copy of it in my stack of books that I’m currently reading, just so I can pull it out and flip it open to see what it can remind me of that day.
A simple way to reverse the slide is to just start asking questions.
How can I be kind to myself right now?
What would feel nurturing right now?
Who can I reach out to right now?
Who could help me love myself right now?
Who or what can I help right now?
What would feel energizing right now?
What can I immerse myself in that I love doing (e.g., a hobby, fun exercise, etc.)?
It can also help to keep a book handy that has short, inspiring stories in it. I have a few listed at the end of the Revolution Resources section of this site if you’d like some suggestions.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking self-love is a flip-of-the-switch, find-it-once-and-your-done state. It’s a constant ebb and flow. And moving more fully into that state is a matter of continually, consistently recognizing the slides toward self-loathing and exploring ways to move back toward self-love.
You need it. The people around you need it. And quite frankly, the world needs it.
Happy Love Yourself Day!
p.s. What do you think? What helps you love yourself?
Want to join the Ripple Revolution?