The most important relationship you'll ever have is with yourself so why wait for someone else to fulfill your dreams and desires! The way we treat ourselves informs everything we do and sets the tone for how others treat us.
If you don't make loving yourself and treating yourself with respect a priority, no one else will either.
When I first started seeing a Doctor of Naturopathy about a decade ago, I couldn't even say the words "I love myself" out loud. Simply could not do it. Would choke on the words, would cry, would shake my head vigorously - the words would not come out. Years of shame and guilt stemming from childhood trauma had strangled any love I once felt for myself. There was what felt like a huge black cloud constricting my body from the throat down. My lower physical chakras were blown out, non-existent and, despite being an athlete, I lived in my head - leaning heavily on my intelligence, faith, wisdom and imagination for survival (all upper chakras); completely disconnected from my physical body. My arms and legs were foreign entities attached to a heavy, dark void of flesh; I had no voice of my own - there was no mind/body/spirit integration whatsoever.
For years I lived this way.
Cultivating a sense of self-love does not happen overnight, it is a practice like most things, and will come in its own time with consistent effort. There will be backsliding and doubts and moments of intense discomfort and that is all part of the process. I couldn't commit to loving myself all of those years ago, so I committed to being a better friend to myself. And along the way, I found love!
I still backslide and still find myself leaning on my go-to numbing crutch of binge eating, but I am so. much. better. I feel lighter, I feel more freedom - and most importantly, this self-love helps me radiate and reflect love to others.
Whether single or attached, this week's combination of Leo energy and Valentine's Day is perfect for stepping our self-love game! Here are some of my top tips for cultivating self-love and nurturing the relationship with yourself.
1. Take Yourself Out & About. That new restaurant you've been wanting to check out? Go. The show that's playing you've been wanting to see? Go. If having a meal alone seems too intimidating, start with a cup of coffee or a fitness class. Getting comfortable being solitary means that when we do decide to date, we aren't using the other person as an emotional crutch because we are perfectly content and whole on our own. (tip: I met my now-husband while I was having lunch alone at a counter. If I would have been with my best friend, as originally planned, we would have been sitting together at a booth and Matt and I would not have had the opportunity to strike up a conversation.)
2. Write down 3 things you love about yourself. These can be character-driven, e.g., your honesty, integrity, kind heart etc or physical e.g. amazing hair, clear eyes, nice teeth etc or a combo of both. Do this every day for a week, trying not to duplicate any attributes.
3. Buy yourself flowers. Have them delivered to your office or pick some up to keep by your bed. Flowers are beautiful and can make us feel loved, special, joyful and cherished. Don't wait for someone else to buy them for you - set the tone for how you'd like to be treated and TREAT YO'SELF! Since Valentine's Day is Friday this year, have flowers delivered to your office on Tuesday so that you can enjoy them all week long.
4. Practice the ho'oponono prayer daily. This prayer changed my life. Through consistent practice, I have been able to release a lot of the anger, shame, guilt and betrayal I had been carrying around with me for so many years. I believe it allows people to make peace with their shadows, shining a light and thus dissolving their perceived power over us, leading to genuine and radical acceptance. It goes like this - "I love you. I'm sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you." Play these four short little sentences on repeat for a few days and notice any emotional or physical shifts that happen for you.
5. Write yourself a love letter. I had a client who complained that her boyfriend didn't write her love letters. I told her to stop waiting for him to do it! Her homework that week was to write herself a love letter each day for a total of 6 days. Write to yourself as if you are a smitten lover, completely taken with all of your amazing, brilliant qualities - leave them in your drawer, computer bag, car, cabinet etc, just like you would do for a partner. Maybe even SWAK using your favorite bright lipstick.
6. Get in touch with your body. The physical body is constantly resonating with the mind so getting these two synced up is critical for holistic healing and integration. Your body is a beautiful, unique work of art capable of incredible versatility. How can you celebrate it? Maybe it's an intense gym session or signing up for a Pilates, SUP, yoga or dance class, perhaps a nice long walk on the beach is more your speed. Depending on budget and availability, treat yourself to a massage, pedicure, float or infrared sauna session.
7. Add Luxury to daily life. Luxuriate in an epsom salt bubble bath with rose petals and polished rose quartz crystals. Diffuse essential oils; I like a mix of rose, geranium and lime for heart-opening. Purchase the lacy lingerie, cashmere socks, or silk nightgown you've been eyeing. Use your "good" dishes and stemware to eat and drink. Rub your hands and feet down with a ritual oil after bathing and before bed. These little upgrades do wonders to elevate your vibration and feelings of self-worth.
8. Work with Crystal Energy. Crystals vibrate much higher than the human body so working with them brings our energies into balance much more quickly than we can on our own. My favorite crystals for self-love, healing and acceptance are pink tourmaline, rhodonite, rhyolite, rhodochrosite, jade, emerald, rose quartz, cherry quartz and green aventurine, as found in my Love chakra set. Tucking a few of these into your bra, pocket, purse, desk drawer and keeping close by on your nightstand and under your pillow will help cultivate a heart-softening, loving energy which will raise your vibration and promote love of yourself and others!
What are you favorite ways to show yourself love?
Do you have the capacity to receive AND hold on to what you think you want?
Let’s try it – how does it feel in your body to imagine inviting a loving, healthy relationship into your life?
Where do you feel this in your body? What sensations do you feel when you imagine this? How does it feel – expansive or constricting? Do you feel a sense of lightness at the prospect of sharing your life with a supportive partner, or does the thought of this agitate you because your nervous system is used to chaotic relationships? Did you have to self-soothe as a child so now the thought of living with someone else makes you anxious because you are truly most comfortable alone?
Tomorrow marks the Fall Equinox and signifies one of two days out of the year (the other being the Spring or 'Vernal' Equinox) when day and night are almost exactly equal lengths and the entire planet is most in balance.
Taking our queue from Nature's rhythms, this week is the optimal time to examine balance in our lives.