Every year around Valentine’s Day we’re bombarded with ways to declare our love for another. Roses, chocolate-covered berries, baubles, romantic dinners and getaways. And I’m a fan of all that. Thanks to a romantic hubby, I’ve been the recipient of all of it through our 17 years together.
But I don’t want to talk about showing love for another. I want to talk about the most important person in your life, who might be in need of a loving gesture this year.
Are you showing yourself how much you love YOU? Since the relationship we have with ourselves is the most important one we’ll ever have, and the only one that will last from our birth to our death, this holiday is the perfect time to examine whether we’re in a healthy, supportive relationship with ourselves that promotes growth and fulfillment. Or if we’re in an abusive relationship ourselves that’s holding us back from living life to its fullest and that’s keeping us from having amazing relationships with others.
Most how-to guides for having a successful, lasting romantic relationship includes tips on how to trust, practice loyalty and understanding, have open, honest communication and how to forgive. But do you trust yourself? Are you loyal to your needs, desires and priorities? Do you routinely and honestly communicate with yourself about your feelings, doubts and fears? And do you forgive yourself when you come up short of your goals or are generally less than perfect?
If we’re not kind to ourselves, we won’t be kind to others. Maybe in the short term, but we can only give others what we’re not willing to give ourselves for so long. I know from personal experience. In business, marriage and parenting, I’ve found that when I’m not loving on myself enough, giving me what I need to feel complete and whole and valued, then I can’t give the best Me to others. And I also end up looking to others to give me the feelings of self-fulfillment I’m lacking. And when they fall short because, let’s face it, nobody can give us what we inherently must give to ourselves, I get frustrated with them. But it’s not their fault. That’s my job.
Do you beat yourself up when you make mistakes, come up short of your goals, or are generally less than perfect?
This Valentine’s Day I’m asking you to cut yourself some slack. Be kind to yourself, your most important person. And remember that how we treat ourselves in moments of struggle is likely how we’ll treat others.
One of my favorite Mother Teresa quotes is, “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” Imagine the world we’d live in if we all did this. But first, we have to love ourselves before we can spread it everywhere.
What our world needs now is love sweet love. And so do you.