“there is you and you.
this is a relationship.
this is the most important relationship.”
― Nayyirah Waheed, Salt
February is the month when advertisers go bonkers about love- making the most out of selling romantic cards, sexy or romantic gifts, and all window displays, restaurant specials, and every retailer on the planet seems to cater only to romantic relationships. But what about the longest term, most important relationship we’ll ever have? That’s right, the one between you and you.
There are so many ways the media and advertisers have created empires on products and services based on fixing, improving, redoing, losing weight, gaining collagen, etc…and we have been told in no uncertain terms- we are not okay as we are. This can make the experience of loving and accepting ourselves as we are challenging to say the least. Like climbing Mt. Everest in flip flops.
So at Strength In Motion- we offer you a new kind of February- one focused on being your own damn Valentine, and reclaiming the love you deserve- from you to you.
Putting self-love into action not only makes us healthier people, but it also makes us better in our relationships and communities. It makes us better for us, better for others, and better for our big lives.
A great first step on this journey is to explore- with the support of a coach, therapist, mentor or other supportive presence in your life- why and how did you decide that you are not worthy of love? Chances are this message began when you were a child, and carried through the ups and downs of life. And because this message came when you were just a child, by no means implies your parents did not love you. This message can seep in insidiously through the world around us, the over culture. Through media, peers, school systems, siblings, members of your world, any collection of people. But once you discover when this message became part of your belief about who you are and how much love and appreciation you deserve, you can rewrite the story! These beliefs lose their solidity and power when examined closely. You will discover what’s actually true, about you we are and how worthy of love you are. You can look back at that little one who believed this falsehood, and show her how amazing you grow up to be, and how very worthy of love that child was.
Another facet of creating a loving relationship is to pay attention to how you speak to yourself, what’s the quality and what’s the tone? Negative self-talk is very common. Most of our self-talk consists of beliefs programmed into us when we were children. We heard these beliefs so often, or in such emotionally intense situations, that now we believe them and repeat them to ourselves whenever the occasion arises. Self-love is a way of re-parenting yourself, of speaking to yourself the way one would to a tender child. Whether or not your parents, guardians or caretakers offered you loving speech, there will still remain a part of you that desires, and in fact needs, to be spoken to this way.
And it’s mindfulness that can support this change of habit. It is the pain of speaking to yourself with a critical tone, aggressive judgments or demeaning words that can offer a wake-up call. That OUCH feeling, that’s the reminder to rephrase your words. Instead of “damn, how could you be so stupid?” Try “oh, ouch, this hurts. What kind of loving words or compassion could I give myself now?”
The speed of our mind and thoughts is often approximately the speed of light. Slow it down, take a deep breath. What’s habit, what’s old story, and what’s real? What’s real is that you are a human being, worthy of being spoken to with kindness and care. When you get into the habit of changing the tone and words of your inner dialogue, the whole world will respond, and you will begin to accept nothing less than respect and kindness from your community, family, colleagues, etc.
A simple hand on the heart also communicates that we are standing by ourselves, having your own back, supporting your pain with your loving presence. This tiny gesture and shift in self-talk, can work miracles.
Create time in your calendar for quality time between you and you. Not at the gym, or running errands, or watching a movie in your jammies, which are all great and can be necessary in their own way- but this is quality time. A slow walk in nature, a hot bath with the phone turned off, journaling, laying on the ground and watching the sky, etc., the benefits are numerous. You are giving your nervous system time to recalibrate, reboot, and relax, and the message that you are worthy of your own time. It’s often easy to show up for friends, colleagues, family members- but showing up for yourself is necessary too! It communicates love and respect, from you to you. You may find that your company is quite delightful, another reason to enjoy this relationship, between you and you.
Do something you love each day. When was the last time you did something you truly loved? Our ambition is admirable, but our lives have become so busy that we often dismiss simple pleasures to take care of business. Whether it's a hobby, talent, or special craft, take thirty minutes out of your day, each day, to practice what nourishes your soul. Everything can wait while you indulge in your beloved self.
Let yourself sweep you off your own feet this month! Enjoy the romance of falling in love with you who are, as you are.
At the Strength in Motion wellness community, we believe in a mind-body-soul approach towards finding and sustaining balance. We feel honored to be on your path in some way and are here to support you in living to your greatest potential. Click here to find out more information about who we are and how we may be a support to you.
Here’s a Playlist to accompany you on your journey.