I love Valentines Day. It’s a day to celebrate LOVE. Something that, in my not-so-distant past, was sadly not a very big part of my life, especially when it came to self-love.
I got a little teary-eyed thinking back on the days when I had little to no self-love and it inspired me to share my experience of how I began to cultivate the vital nutrient that I call self-love.
I talk about ‘Holistic Nutrition’ a lot. It is my philosophy that living holistically by putting special care into including things like self-love, relationships, creativity, as well as whole nutrient-dense foods, in your life are all important ingredients for a healthy life.
Love is perhaps THE most important nutrient of all.
Today, on Valentines Day, I would like to offer the suggestion of making your most special Valentine be YOU.
You will have many relationships throughout your lifetime, but the one that you will continue to develop and evolve throughout your life is the one with yourself. This is the single most important relationship you will ever have.
If you just gagged a bit or proceeded to roll your eyes after reading that comment, or especially if you had the reaction of feeling completely overwhelmed and defeated at the thought of putting any energy into loving yourself, then I can totally relate…
My Experience In Learning To Love Myself
When I was going through my “rough years” I had a lot of self-hatred. Truthfully, it took me many years of rolling my eyes at this whole “you need to improve the relationship with yourself” thing before I actually started to “get it”.
The reason it took me so long to start to “get it” was because I had so much disdain for the person I was. I couldn’t fathom being kind to myself. I didn’t feel that I deserved happiness. It was hard for me to see the “good” in me when I was a walking disaster.
What I didn’t realize was that the only person who thought this of me, was me.
I had a toxic mind full of self-loathing thoughts. I believe today that having a toxic relationship with yourself is one of the biggest traps for addicts. It not only can drive you to addiction, but it can also keep you stuck there.
Isolation can become a comfortable place for addicts. Choosing to isolate yourself with addictive behaviors and avoiding the experience of being fully present in life can sometimes be more comfortable when you have such negative thoughts about who you are.
It still brings up an emotion of sadness to take myself back to that time and think about how isolated and alone I felt. I had no idea that I was starving myself of this essential ingredient – LOVE – that has proven to be a non-negotiable nutrient in my relationship with myself and others today.
Take Small Steps Toward Re-Writing Your Self-Love Story
My self-love story began in my early 20’s when I had literally beat myself to a pulp with my negative thoughts.
I realized that I was all alone. I had simply reached my limit of self-hatred.
I don’t know when it began to sink in, but let me tell you, once it did, I began practicing as many acts of loving kindness toward myself that I could in an effort to re-write that painful story that kept replaying in my head.
Once I began to take small steps toward loving myself, the energy and vibrations I created with these actions began to change my experience of life for the better.
The story in my head became less negative. I slowly started to see what I had to offer and give in life.
I began to attract people into my life who became my support system and tribe.
The best way to cultivate a nourishing relationships with yourself is by taking care of that precious soul that is you. And there is no better day to start than on a day where the focus is LOVE!
These acts of self-care do not have to be grand ventures. They can be as simple as looking yourself in the mirror and saying something sweet, or can be as BIG as taking yourself on a trip somewhere amazing!
The point is to begin to cultivate daily nourishment practices that become routine over time. And depending on how long you have spent being hard on yourself, it may take a little while to notice the shifts in the way you think and feel about yourself.
I promise you though, if you can make an effort to do even just one small thing each day to show affection toward yourself, your life will begin to shift in miraculous ways!
Treating yourself with love and respect by practicing and doing just one simple act each day will grow into a huge shift over time. Trust this process and know that even if it doesn’t feel like it’s working, it is!
Here are a few simple suggestions to start with…
Nourish your body with clean, whole foods. High-quality food equals a high-quality you.
Write in your journal a minimum of 3 things you like about yourself.
Look at yourself in the mirror and say something kind to yourself out loud, for example: “I love you”, “you are beautiful”, “I completely love and accept you just the way you are”, “you are a total bas-ass”, etc…
Practice daily movement – a short walk in nature or around the block, a yoga class, or something more intense like a long hike, or spin class.
Treat yourself to regular massages, acupuncture, and other relaxing and rejuvenating body-love treatments.
Take regular cleansing baths. Make this a weekly, or even a daily ritual!
Get adequate sleep.
Take yourself on regular outings and treat yourself to something special.
Spend time listening to music you love.
Give yourself tactile love by massaging your body with nourishing natural oils and spice it up to inspire your moods by adding essential oils.
Remember, it’s the small acts that count. By practicing one or more of these loving acts on a daily basis, you will be growing compassion, forgiveness, and deep love for the soul that is you.
These actions and feelings will begin to replace the built-up negativity toward yourself. This will not only set you free, but it will also open the doors to begin attracting those same relationships with others.
“We all have a need to give and receive love. Love is food for the soul. Love nourishes our body, mind, and spirit. Being well connected with yourself and others – husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, parents, children, friends, family, co-workers – is an essential part of life. We can feel a sense of comfort, safety, and connection when we are free to express our hopes and dreams, fear and anger, joy and struggles with others.”