I originally posted this message of this blog a few years ago, but it's every bit as relevant now as it was then. The journey toward self-love is a long and challenging one, but honestly, it's well worth the effort. If not you...who? If not now...when??
Unconditional love starts at home. Because if you don't love you how can you believe someone else when they say they love you? If you've spent any time struggling with your own love-ability and self-esteem because you internalized well-meaning but negative comments, this might seem like an impossible challenge.
But just as Rome wasn't built in a day, re-building a sense of self-love is a process. And just like Rome, it is so worth the effort! Brick by brick, breath by breath, moment by moment, the keys to the city are in your hands. Take these 10 small steps to give your relationship with yourself a boost:
1. Turn down the volume - on the news, the negative and the noise. (Now more than ever!)
2. Give yourself enough time to rest. Napping rocks.
3. Make a promise to yourself… And keep it.
4. Treat yourself with gentle good humor. Take a long, sweet look in the mirror and see the beauty in your eyes. Wink. Smile.
5. Forgive yourself for EVERYTHING. You were doing the best you knew how to do at the time that you did it.
6. Use moisturizer when you get out of the bath or shower. Apply it as if you were putting it on a baby…because you are, in the nicest way.
7. Ask your inner healer if there are any vitamins or supplements you should be taking. Follow your intuition.
8. Buy yourself a bouquet of flowers for no special occasion at all. Repeat weekly.
9. Eat healthier, drink more water, be merrier.
10. Smile often and watch what happens.
And for a special Valentine's Day treat, enjoy Derek Walcott's amazing poem Love After Love:
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
Oh, and one more delicious morsel by poet Nayyirah Waheed to encourage you to make Valentine's Day about you:
"and i said to my body. softly. 'i want to be your friend.' it took a long breath. and replied 'i have been waiting my whole life for this."
Besides, who needs flowers or chocolates when you have a loving relationship with your innermost self all year long? Well...OK, a little dark chocolate is good for the heart.
Do you hear what I hear? It's the sound of water flowing in the Trevi Fountain. Ah, Rome...