February brings Valentine’s Day – a good time to focus on self-love.
Self-love can be a feeling – of tenderness, compassion, appreciation and care; but it is also an action thing- as in taking care of yourself, speaking kindly to yourself, forgiving yourself. Thus, if we aren’t feeling it, we can still honor a commitment to treat ourselves in a loving way. We can’t do this perfectly, but just trying is good enough.
This is a practice of taking care of ourselves – including mind, body and spirit.
We can learn to recognize our needs and limits and allow them to matter. We can take actions to care for ourselves, and work on our thinking patterns and self-talk. The most important thing is trying to bring kindness and compassion to all our experiences. It can be hard to focus on self-care if we learned to focus on taking care of others. But, if we don’t try, we end up empty, operating on chronic low power mode which is not good for anyone.
This might be the hardest part. It’s easier to forgive others than to forgive ourselves. Try to focus on the fact that you are only human and thus imperfect. You were raised by imperfect people, in an imperfect world.
We are all a work in progress. Working on self-forgiveness is important but it is a process, sometimes a long journey. We often need help with this.
A focus on these things will help us cultivate, maintain, or strengthen our Self-Esteem. And it works the other way too- as we cultivate our Self-Esteem we are better able to love, care for and forgive ourselves.
confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect
Tips to remember:
• It is okay, and enough, to be human and thus imperfect.
• Your worth is not based on performance and achievement, or external characteristics such as appearance, the number on the scale, relationship status, or money in the bank.
• You are worthy just for being a person with a good heart and being yourself.
• Watch out for social media. We live in a culture of comparison and social media can easily make us feel not good enough.
• We all have inner critics that can tell us we are not enough and can be really mean. We would not talk to a friend that way, but we often don’t realize we are listening to that voice and taking it to heart. Learn to recognize that voice and tell it to back off. Remind yourself that you are a good person, doing the best you can.
• Reach out for support when you need it. And if you need extra help, please reach out: [email protected]
Cultivate Self Compassion with Dr. Kristen Neff. I often teach a simple self-compassion meditation that she developed.
1) Notice that you are having a hard time. Say to yourself, “This is a moment of distress. (mindfulness)
2) Say to yourself, “I am not alone. Others feel this way too.” (our common humanity)
3) Place you hand over your heart and say to yourself, “May I be kind to myself.” (self-compassion)
- Self-Compassion Exercises by Dr. Kristin Neff
- How to Stop a ‘Bad’ Photo From Crushing Your Self-Esteem | SELF
- 20 Best Self-Care Ideas and Activities for Mental Health (today.com)
Quotes & Inspiration
Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. -Judy Garland
To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance. -Oscar Wilde
You’ve been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens. -Louise Hay
Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. -Lucille Ball
There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom -Anaïs Nin
Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do. -Brené Brown
Affirmation: I am wonderful and valuable just the way I am.