Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. Traditionally our focus is on showering those we love with love. While this is beautiful, more often than not we are better at loving others than we are at loving ourselves. Many of us are much more comfortable expressing love to others than we are expressing love to ourselves. But, the truth is - all love starts with self-love. Self-love is the prerequisite to receiving and giving the abundant flow of love around us.
The term self-love is popping up everywhere and is creating quite a buzz in the world of health and wellness. As a culture, we are beginning to recognize the value in loving ourselves and prioritizing our self-care. We have come to learn that without the practice of self-love, we cannot truly feel compassion and love for others. But, how do we cultivate self-love?
Self-love is both an act and an attitude. It takes practice and patience and builds out of our thoughts and actions. The most important thing to remember about your self-love practice is that it is just that - a practice. Some days it may feel easier than others, but eventually, it will start to flow through you.
Small Habits to Cultivate More Self-Love
Practice Self-Care: Self-Care doesn’t have to look like a massage every week or a luxurious bubble bath every night. (although we think those things are great!) Self-care is all about the little ways you nourish yourself on a daily basis; the act of showing love to yourself. It can be as simple as making a healthy, delicious breakfast to nourish your body. Perhaps you carve out a few minutes in your busy day to do a meditation or you bring yourself to bed a bit earlier. Self-care might look different for everyone, so explore how it is that you like to nourish every part of your being - every day.
Forgive Yourself: We hold ourselves to this unrealistic metric of perfection. Let it go. We are not perfect. Life is all about opportunities to learn and grow - that’s what mistakes are. If you struggle with this one, perhaps you can try to write down something you’re holding onto on a piece of paper. Take the paper and burn it, throw it in the fire, to symbolize the act of letting it go. When things bubble up, acknowledge these feelings and say to yourself, ‘I’m grateful for these mistakes and opportunities to learn and grow from them. I can let them go now.’
LOVE Your Body: Treating your body like the loving vessel it is will not only boost your self-love, but will elevate your mood, your energy and your well being. Nourish your body with nutrient-rich, wholesome foods. Drink clean water and teas. The better we treat our bodies, the better they will perform for us. And the better they perform, the better we will feel. Period.
Create a Self-Love Ritual: Identify something or some way you can love yourself on a daily basis. Maybe it’s applying your favorite lotion after the shower? Maybe it’s shutting the TV of 15 minutes earlier and preparing yourself for bed. Find a simple, practical way to practice a self-love ritual on a daily basis and do it religiously and mindfully.
Find Your Positive People: Surround yourself with people who make you feel good, love you for who you are and help raise you up. We all have those people in our lives who like to bring us down or inadvertently suck our energy. Find the people in your life who help you be the best version of yourself - keep them close and love them fiercely.
Beth Madden Warner, is the founder of Therapeutic Bodywork, a fully integrative Wellness Center in Cotuit offering Reflexology, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & Organic Skin Care.
Having experienced the benefits of integrative medicine her whole life, Beth understands the importance of a holistic and comprehensive perspective in terms of treating the body.
She is the co-editor of Ebb & Flow Cape Cod - a magazine focused on Health, Wellness & Sustainability on the Cape. Beth is passionate about educating others about the importance of integrative therapies and empowering people to take control of their own health.