“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ~Rumi
As another Valentine’s Day approaches, let’s look at the beauty of love from a different viewpoint, not externally but internally. Most of us are so busy waiting for someone to love us that we’ve forgotten about the one person we need to love first and foremost—ourselves.
At first it sounds ridiculous. We usually think of falling in love as a process specific to dating, but in reality, we fall in love in so many different ways and with so many different things. We fall in love with people, places, literature, art, and even states of mind. There is no wrong way to love, other than not to love at all. The problem becomes our own familiarity with ourselves, since we are the person that we spend all of our time with, we often become so complacent that we see ourselves as being plain, and thus unable to see the wonder that others see when they look at us.
Falling in love is something that nearly every person has dreamt about at some point in their lifetime, and while there’s nothing wrong with loving love, it doesn’t make you selfish to want to spend some time on yourself. It’s important that we never get so wrapped up in loving each other that we forget to love ourselves.
Learn to appreciate yourself the same way you would appreciate your loved ones. Learn to embrace your quirks, because they’re what makes you so amazingly you. Learn to see the beauty in your birthmarks and blemishes. Learn to enjoy time spent with your own thoughts, rather than shying away from them.
You can’t give what you don’t already possess, so loving yourself means your better placed to genuinely, unselfishly and unconditionally love another.
Loving yourself can range from learning about your needs and how to meet them, to acknowledging your value and self worth, to embracing everything about yourself, the good and the not so good. But none of it is bad, it just is. Here are some tips to start your journey to a loving relationship with the most important person in your life—YOU.
1. Be kind to yourself.
We tend to be harsh on ourselves, often because the people who were supposed to love us were unusually cruel to us. We hear their non-stop chatter in our minds, but that’s not the real you, stop focusing on that, instead focus on your many positive qualities, focus on your strengths, your abilities, and your admirable traits. Let go of harsh judgments, comparisons to others, and self-hatred.
When you can see yourself as the soulful and divinely inspired person you are, the damaging internal dialogue doesn’t hold up.
The practice of yoga and mindfulness helps us to reconnect with ourselves.
2. Feel the love within you and be that love.
If you experience both self-hatred and self-love, spend more time focusing on self-love. Try loving and positive affirmations, I use the Marianne Williamson – Our Deepest Fear Poem. Nourish your soul through a love-kindness meditation or spiritual practices that help you feel compassion and love toward yourself. Once you feel vibrations of self-love or the peace of positive affirmations, try to be in that place of love throughout your day. Infuse this love with your interactions with others in your life.
3. Give yourself a break.
You’re not perfect. No one is. You don’t have to be at the top of your game every day. No one is happy all the time. No one loves themselves always. No one lives without pain. Be willing to embrace your imperfections and excuse your bad days. Don’t set such high standards for yourself emotionally and mentally. It’s normal to feel sadness and pain and to hit some low points in life.
Allow yourself to embrace these emotions without judging yourself for them.
4. Embrace yourself.
Are you content being alone by yourself without feelings of anxiety, fear, and judgment? You may have to go within and seek solace in yourself to be comfortable in your own skin. Practice moments of alone time and be aware of how you treat yourself. Learn to embrace solitude and allow yourself to be mindful of your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs about yourself. In the alternative, periods of introspection, silent meditations, journaling, and sharing your feelings with supportive friends may help you be more aware of who you are.
5. Be grateful.
Every night before going to sleep, be grateful for 5 things, start with 5 first, then as you become more used to doing this you can add more, for me, I’m grateful for the sun, air and water that gives life to all things, I’m grateful for the roof over my head and the food in my belly, I’m grateful for my health and mobility, I’m grateful for all those that love and support me, you get the idea, no rules here, whatever your grateful for just say it. You will immediately start loving yourself more when you realise all the things you’re grateful for in your life.
6. Give yourself in service to others.
When you think about kindness and love towards others, you open the door to divine love.
“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” ~Rabindranath Tagore
Yes, giving to others is a gift of love you can often give yourself which brings you more love. When you’re being kind, considerate, compassionate, and giving of yourself, your soul will rejoice. You’ve reached the highest level of self-love in this state of serving others. Practice conscious acts of kindness and giving. The love you’re sharing with others in the form of service will help you feel more love and fulfilment in your life.
The more you practice these tips the more you will realise you don’t need someone else to feel complete any longer. You are already complete, you are your own soul mate, and as you let your own light shine, a relationship will only make you shine brighter and bring more love in your life. Shine bright you beautiful soul.