Valentine’s day? Bah humbug. Yes, I am a bit of a Scrooge. It’s not that I don’t appreciate love. It’s just that lately the most important love to me has been self-love and that’s not what’s usually celebrated on Valentine’s Day.
Self-love didn’t come easy to me. Most of my life I played small. I didn’t know to love myself in a way that allowed me to be full-sized, my true self. That kind of love came much later in life. It is only now, in my 50’s, that I’m learning to love myself well.
I love myself not in that egoic self-centered way. The love that I have for myself feels like a reward for years of hard work. Won, not by default but, through effort. I cherish my hard-won love. I nurture it.
I can look at my crinkled face and love it. I can see my scarred, post-cancer body and still love it. I can look back over the years with fondness as all has been forgiven. I can look forward without fear because love strengthens and grounds me. I can appreciate the work it took to get to this place in my life. I can appreciate my own love.
What I Know About Self-Love.
Everyone’s path is different. Everyone’s experience is different, but this is what I know about self-love.
An unhealthy and unhelpful inner critic isn’t love.
Creating a new healthy and helpful inner dialogue is love.
Forgiveness is essential to self-love, as it is with any love.
We don’t need to know self-love BEFORE knowing love of another, but it does land differently.
We can develop self-love through deep appreciation and care.
It’s not love at first sight, it’s the kind of love that you invest in and grow.
Self-love can be trusted; we know the source.
Self-love feels like true love.
Self-love ensures that we will always be loved.
May you know love every day, not just a random Monday in February.