February. The month of love. The not-so-subtle reminders of crimson red, bulky cards, decadent chocolates and roses. All, for some reason, designed to be a resemblance of ‘love’. If you’re upbringing was anything like mine, it came with the pressures of childhood and “would I receive a valentine’s card?” to being a young adult and single. I would admire the father that would send flowers to his daughters at school or the couple that would proudly proclaim, I don’t need a single day to tell this person I love them, I do it every day. But each feeling, every emotion, in its root core was reliant on the love of someone else being shown or reciprocated to myself.
Dear Me – you need to love you. You are amazing.
While this statement can sound akin to some anti-societal movements, burning valentine’s cards and stamping out the suppressive chocolates and roses, it really is not. I truly love my spouse, my family and love hearing that they love me. However, I feel the benefits of loving who I am results in my outpouring of love being more genuine and less needing reciprocation. There is, however, more to loving yourself more than not needing that giant box of overindulgent chocolates. Here are 5 benefits I’ve noticed to loving yourself.
- Strength to Conquer the Hard Times
When life is difficult and you feel you have to carry not only yourself, but also those that lean on your support, often comes moments of self doubt. Can I get through this? Am I good enough? Victor Frankl in his book “Man’s Search for Meaning” taught me the importance of finding your why you are here – a parent, a close friend, a child, a dissertation or book that has not yet been finished, or even written. It all lies in remembering you are important. Have the courage to be you and love you.
"Living in approval of yourself is the antidote to worry." – Nancy Levin
- Empathy and Compassion to Others
I’ve noticed the more I appreciate who I am the more I look to share love, compassion and empathy. Understanding that to be a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen to can make a huge impact in someone’s life. Last year during the height of COVID, I gave a friend a hug. It was a moment for us both as so many had not received a hug in such a long time. Your love bucket needs filling, but sometimes it is filled by filling someone else’s.
“When you start to develop your powers of empathy and imagination, the whole world opens up to you.” - Susan Sarandon
- Comfort in your Own Skin
By being comfortable with who you are - loving you - you can get back to enjoying your life. Concentrate on having fun and forgetting what others think. There comes a point in life when the pool of people’s opinions that matter becomes so close that you get back to living more freely. So, go ahead and buy that outfit, go to that hip-bar or fine restaurant – you belong there. Try Mel Robbins ‘5 Second Rule’ and find the courage inside you.
"For me, the holy moment is when I enjoy my own company." – Kris Carr
- Open More Doors
Being more aware of who you are and loving you often opens doors to hearing honest and loving opinions, leading to the growth of you. This openness also leads you to finding more honest and close relationships, full of forgiveness and being able to be open without a concern of being judged. Try being the first to show compassion or forgiveness to someone, you may find that enemy is actually a future friend that needs you now.
“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Joy, Peace and a Feeling of Bliss
When you learn to love yourself, you are teaching yourself to receive and give love, unrestricted. That doesn’t mean you love everyone, but it means when you choose to show love to someone, you’re not looking for something in return. A friend is a true friend, a gift is a sincere gift. You start to find your freedom in life. Who cares if it’s reciprocated – that’s not why you gave it in the first place.
“For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” – Nelson Mandela
This Valentine’s Day, I’m eyeing up silence in a Scandinavian Spa, with my Tea Traveller and Rocky Rose watching the snow fall around me. Bring a good book and enjoy a moment of blissful love, loved poured out upon myself from deep within me, not with hesitation or self doubt but with abundance. Then home for cuddles and a family movie.
PS, I’ve already sent out hand-written letters to some friends I love (some that I don’t), just to say Dear You – you’re special to me.