Another Valentine's day is upon us and as we spread the love this month, how about starting right at home with yourself? I want to talk about loving yourself.
I am sure that you have encountered loads of people who both professionally and personally tend to put the needs of others before themselves. For many people it is an integral aspect of their work whereas some people learn that way of being during their younger years.
The variety of carers in our society learn how to minimise taking notice of their own feelings in order to take care of their clients and patients. People that tend to drive themselves into fatigue, depression or even illness include individuals such as hospital doctors working ridiculously long hours, high ranking city executives responding to their bosses, mothers to their young children, teachers within schools and colleges, managers of large companies with lots of employees.
With these kinds of people, because of their beliefs about what their role entails, they have a habit of putting the needs of the company or the client first. There can then come a point where these kind of people do not even notice their own feelings.
Where is the love? It is being expended everywhere else. I would go as far as to say that this is potentially dangerous.
This kind of attitude to oneself produces conscious and unconscious attempts to take care of the self in short term ways or ways that are detrimental to our own well-being, including smoking or drinking alcohol or eating too much or the wrong things. These things then replace the good, direct and long-term ways of taking care of ourselves. People often try to give themselves quick treats, but in a way that can erode your self-esteem or your ability to attract love as you find that you cannot go without it, and also these things do not create natural good feelings most of the time.
So then what happens is that the teacher leaves the profession, the executive gets burnt out early, the nurse goes sick with constant illness, the doctor chooses to work in a private clinic with regular hours and pleasant surroundings. All of these may well be valid, but if they are not the individual’s choice and they are forced decisions, it really does nothing for your sense of self. Without a good sense of self, it is hard to attract love.
So we want to spread some love.
Putting oneself first actually means that we are then of course in a far better position to look after others. If we are fit and well and happy, we have plenty spare for others. We can give generously without minding. Putting time and energy into loving yourself is one of the most wonderful investments that you can make. So, we want to start getting you to notice you.
What do you like about you? What is there to love about you?
Is there someone in your life that you truly admire or think a lot of? How about someone that you really love? What is it about them that you like or love so much? Stop and have a think about them for a moment. Really think about the reason you like them so much.
I am sure that some of you may have responded with that old chestnut “I just do.” Now whether you are consciously aware of it or not, there are more reasons than that. I am positive that you could come up with lists and lists of amazing qualities that you find likeable in others. Liking someone involves identifying and enjoying certain qualities that you appreciate and think highly of.
This is why we end up liking people that we are unlikely to actually meet but are in the public eye. You can of course respect someone without liking them; liking them is to enjoy them.
This is very similar to the process of liking and loving oneself. Liking and loving comes from having a true sense of self-acceptance; we do not have to be perfect model citizens. Your liking for yourself will increase once you know more about how you function and learning to accept yourself as you are, even if you do have issues or foibles every now and then.
Now have a think about popular public figures. Very often one of the things that continues to draw people to them is not their accomplishments but the fact that they have frailties and foibles. This is what so many of the popular glossy magazines focus on, showing the regular lives and problems of the famous and one of the reasons that people seem to be so drawn to reality television programmes such as “Big Brother.” It is as if the message is “look, they are just like us.” We see how human other people really are.
Therefore, it is as if this process of being drawn to what makes us human and real shows us to be fallible at times. If this works between us and other people, surely it can also work inside of ourselves. Actually, it can be a relief to allow ourselves to accept any limitations that we may think we have and even become fond of them, even proud, as long as they are not interfering too much with our lives.
Enjoying being yourself this Valentine's day:
That’s right, as of this very Valentines day, you are starting to enjoy being yourself, this is where the love is. What are the things that you do enjoy about the way you are? At the end of the day, when taking stock of your day, you can also take some time to ask yourself what you most loved most about you today.
Do include everything, even if it was a small, supposedly non-important thing. Perhaps you wore a certain handkerchief (you must have been bought one that is in a drawer somewhere that your great auntie bought you several Christmases ago!) because it matched a new shirt. Perhaps it was something that you did, an enjoyable or beneficial interaction you had, or perhaps it was even something that you chose not to do or something that you thought. There are so many things to love about the way you have been today.
To really get your love for your self flowing this Valentine's day, go ahead and make an official list on a piece of paper that has the heading ‘I love myself because…’ Then make another list that begins ‘I love … about myself.’ Of course, you then have to add to those lists. Make a long loving list of things that can show you all the wonderful things you love about yourself.
So think of the people you like and love the most, and the people who like and love you the most. If they like you or love you, dare to trust that you are actually well worth liking and well worth loving and of course you are worth giving some love to, and then dare to like and love yourself as they do. Go on, I dare you! By the way, you do not have to only allow that love on yourself on Valentine's day, do it all the time and notice what an amazingly loving Valentines day you have next year.