How are you feeling right now? Maybe it's blissful love and appreciation for your partner, wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend or those who are closest to you.
Maybe you are single and this day just magnifies how that makes you feel or you are single and happy to keep it this way.
Maybe you are struggling with your relationship and it shines a spotlight on what's missing and how far away you are from being happy right now.
What if this year things could be different? What if instead of focusing on love outwardly you switch things around to focus internally. Instead of looking for signs that you are loved by others, how about looking at the love you have for yourself. Scary I know! Learning to love yourself is the greatest gift you can give yourself. You deserve to be loved and this must start with you. It's time to get serious and committed to loving yourself. Are you ready?
Learning to love yourself takes times, sometimes this may be years and a whole tonne of work depending on your background and why you feel the way you do. If you are unsure of where to start I'm going to share three strategies to help kick start your own love affair with you.
What I am about to share goes deep, it requires some work on your behalf but the reward will be worth it. If it feels overwhelming or too much, take it one step at a time. You can do this in stages if this feels more manageable. If you are struggling at any stage take a break and come back to it.
If you plan to approach this in one go set aside an hour or so that is free from distractions, have some water and a pen and paper. Turn off your phone and find somewhere quiet, where you can relax.
#1 Identify the source and kick it into touch
Negative messages in the brain all start from somewhere and lack of self-love is no different. Those negatives may sound something like this ....... "who will love me I'm not pretty enough", "no one will ever love me", I am unlovable" or "I'm broken inside how could anyone possibly love this".
Believe it not those messages are designed to protect you from getting hurt, your brain created them as a defence mechanism, often many years ago, but I'm guessing they no longer serve you. I'm guessing they now get in the way of what you really want. It's impossible for others to love you if you don't love yourself. You are unknowingly sabotaging yourself and the love that comes into your life.
Over to you: Ask yourself, what's the messages I am telling myself? When and where did this first show up in my life? How does this help or hinder me? What is a new message I start saying today?
Take your time and be gentle with yourself during this stage. The moment unkind words crop up, say "that's not helping me and I don't want to listen." Take a few deeps breathes and replace this with kind words.
Now you have a kinder message, try turning this into a mantra to say each day, this helps re-programme your brain. For many years mine was "I am beautiful on the inside and the out and worthy of love."
#2 Identify your lovable qualities
Inside you there is a whole list of lovable qualities, this is your true essence. Those magical qualities are what makes you unique. Identifying those and focusing on them will increase the love you have for yourself. It can make you feel strange to talk about yourself in this way but it is an important part of the process. If you struggle with this exercise, space it out over a few days or weeks but don't give up.
Over to you: Close your eyes and take some slow deeps breaths. As you breathe out let go of negative thoughts. As you breathe introduce love and happiness. Think about the wonderful qualities you have, the things you are proud of in your life. Think about what others would notice about you.
When you are ready to open your eyes and write down the positive thoughts and qualities that come to mind. If you think of something negative don't dwell on this, note it on a separate piece of paper and move back to noting down your positive qualities.
Once you've finished, take the paper with any negatives thoughts (if you have any) and tear it up into tiny pieces, repeating "this is not who I am".
Take the piece of paper with the positive thoughts and keep this somewhere safe, add to this when new thoughts come up and read it regularly to remind yourself who you are now and how beautiful your soul is.
#3 Fall in love with you
Well done for making it this far, you have done the hard work. You should be very proud of yourself!
Now its time to have some fun. Yep, it is time to celebrate your success and do something to put a smile on your face and make you happy. Loving yourself means you also love the time you spend by yourself. You are in the driver's seats and you don't need to please anyone else but you. Pick something fun. Go all out, get creative and don't hold back.
Over to you: Either do this now or schedule a solo date with yourself but don't take too long to put this step into action. Here are some ideas to get you started, have a party for one and dance around your kitchen, cook your favourite meal or try a brand new dish(experiment), get outdoors or go for a picnic, take yourself out for breakfast, read a book, watch a movie, be creative paint, draw, sing. Whatever you choose, own it, make it yours and have fun!
This work isn't easy, the things you are trying to shift may be deep-rooted and may have been around for years, go easy on yourself. If this article has triggered something in you and you are finding it hard, get help straight away there are many free and paid services there to support you, counselling, therapy or coaching.
I promise you are never alone with this. I wish you well on your journey to self-love, baby steps will get you there. It took me many years but I am so grateful I put the hard work in, I can honestly and unequivocally say I love me! You can and will get there too.
I know how challenging relationships can be and how exhausting it is when things don't feel right. It is emotionally draining and you can feel so alone. Don't suffer, if you need support make the first step, and start today, with a no-obligation chat. I'm sure you feel better once you say things out loud.