When I think of February, I think of a few things: it’s the shortest month of the year, it's my mom's birthday, and of course Valentine's Day.
You know, that day where every since you were a little kid meant love and that romance was in the air. That day when you thought about who would be your Valentine and if you didn’t have one, well you were a loser. That day when if you did have a Valentine you would wait to see what they were going to do for you - presents, flowers, dinner?
But since this one day a year is revolved around “love”, you have to ask yourself, is that what love really is? How many Valentine's Days have you spent loving yourself? Sure many people are in love and that’s amazing - I am! But my mom (who February also belongs to) taught me that you can’t possibly love someone else until you love yourself. According to Sharon Martin, a mental health therapist, here are some ways to start - and for any of you who are already on this journey, maybe it's time to revisit.
1. Know yourself. It's impossible to love yourself if you don't even know who you are. Invest in discovering what you believe, value, and like.
2. Don't compare yourself to others. Others aren't better or worse, more or less than you; They're just different. You have value just as you are and accepting yourself means there's no need for comparisons.
3. Be truly present. Our lives are full of distractions. Many of these things are fun and worthwhile, but they can be draining and keep us from truly knowing and being ourselves.
4. Give yourself a treat. A treat is something special that you just give yourself. Unlike a reward, it doesn't have to be earned. Be good to yourself by giving yourself treats "just because".
5. Be honest with yourself. This one can be harder than it seems. Some of us as so good at self-deception that we don't even know we're doing it. Honesty is key in all relationships and your relationship with yourself is no different. Clearly, you can't love your entire messy self if you're lying, minimizing, or making excuses. True self-love means taking responsibility and accountability.
6. Accept that some people won't like you. That's right, some people don't like you and that's O.K. Don't waste your time trying to please people who are impossible to please or people who just aren't that important to you. Being yourself means you have to give up your people-pleasing ways and embrace your authentic self.
7. Make fun a priority. Put something fun on your agenda every week. Don't neglect it or cancel because you have too much work to do or your kiddo needs help with his history report. Just like rest, we all need fun in order to feel good. Don't skimp on this important need.
8. Practice gratitude. Gratitude is one of the simplest ways to focus on the good in yourself and in your life. Try identifying 3 things you're grateful for when you wake up every morning.
9. Take good care of your body. Good health is truly priceless. Give yourself the gift of feeling physically well - exercise regularly, eat healthfully, drink water, get 7-8 hours of sleep most nights, and limit alcohol or other drugs.
10. Write down your successes. I love this self-love activity because it creates a record of your accomplishments (big and small) that you can re-read whenever you're feeling low. Add to it and read your list on a daily basis for maximum benefit.
Happy Valentine's Day, beauties!