I love Valentine’s Day. Not because it’s the day that I receive copious amounts of flowers and love letters (it happens sometimes!). But I love it because it’s a day that I devote entirely to MYSELF.
I don’t measure my self-worth by how much other people show their love and devotion to me, but by how much I am committed and devoted to myself. The more I love myself, the better, happier, freer, kinder and more spirited my life is.
Some on my favourite Valentine’s Day’s involved:
Hitchhiking with my soul-sister Lily in Costa Rica, being picked up by a massive Bimbo bakery truck, and watching romantic comedies on a laptop for 7 hours in the cabin of the truck, while we were being transported across the country.
Walking alone, along a cold canal in Amsterdam, with tears streaming down my face, as I resolved to break up with my boyfriend, after I discovered that he had lied to me, more times than I dared admit to myself. I loved it, because in that moment I felt totally free. And I knew that leaving him, was one of the greatest acts of self-love that I could possibly do.
Waking up early in India, for my daily yoga class, and then jumping on my scooter and driving along the ocean with the wind in my hair for 30 minutes to meet a bunch of girlfriends at our favourite beach, for a day of swimming, giggles and gossip, finished off by treating ourselves to dinner at our favourite restaurant.
So, as we herald this beautiful day into our lives again, whether we celebrate it or not, what’s important is, what it really means to love yourself. It’s not about how many pretty things you buy yourself or how much time you spend at the spa. Though, of course, those things are nice too.
What loving yourself really is about is, how much your are able to spend time with yourself and deeply love and accept your true nature. Without judgement. Without willing yourself to change, or wishing you were different.
Here are 3 ways.
1. Spend time by yourself. Schedule it in and do it, often.
I spend at least one day per week on my own, doing things that fill me up: reading, writing in my journal, making something beautiful, going for walks in nature and swimming in the sea. I make sure it’s a day that I can truly devote to myself, and ensure that there are no other obligations that disturb me. Spending time by myself allows me to sit with my inner peace and stillness, and truly listen to what I need. This period of self-reflection is invaluable in understanding yourself, and learning to love yourself in the ways that are beyond physical and practical needs. I have learnt to love my own company, and enjoy being in my energy field.
2. Be unapologetic for your feelings.
I used to bulldoze over my own feelings, because I felt that they weren’t as important as those of others. Being taught from an early age to be a perpetual people pleaser, it was a really hard habit to overcome. But not listening to my feelings hurt and harmed me. Over time, I learnt the art of feeling my feelings and expressing them to people in a way that felt safe and comfortable. Learning to recognise what you are feeling, and then express it to others in a positive way, is an invaluable expression of self-love. Be unapologetic for how you feel, and learn to share with people in a way that is helpful and kind.
3. Go to bed early.
I know, I know! Most of us are still rebelling to our mother’s nap-time commands, but guess what? Now that we are adults, going to bed early is totally rebellious! In a society that favours burning your candle at both ends, staying up late and getting up early, partying until sunrise and pushing ourselves beyond our boundaries, one of the kindest, most loving things you could possibly do for yourself, is going to bed early. Sleep has the most transformative, life-giving and healing qualities, and a full night snuggled down into your favourite sheets and pillows will restore your magic powers faster than anything else. Want to really love yourself? Go to bed early!