I can count on more than two hands all of the Valentine’s Days I’ve been single.
Towards the end of my 20’s it finally occurred to me that instead of holding out for the perfect Valentine, you know the kind Hollywood rom-coms are made of, I decided I could be my own Valentine. In that quiet moment of decision making, a self love revolution was born.
Five years ago I devoted the entire month of February to self love. Each day I took some action that was all about learning to care for myself, showing up, having fun, and taking risks. Through that process I began to understand that love isn’t about those cinematic (and frankly made up) movie moments where two people are rushing towards each other in slow motion at an airport, to finally live, happily ever after.
Love is in the everyday, the mundane, the present moment. In short, love is in the details.
This is will be my first Valentine’s day with Nic and I am very happy to share it with him. In all honestly, my years of devotion to learning how to love myself has made me appreciate gestures of love on a daily basis, not just on one random day of the year. Having said that, I am still looking forward to honoring our commitment to each other by showing up in supportive ways, especially when it’s challenging and to opening our hearts to the true meaning of love.
Learning how to be my own Valentine made it possible for me to be someone else’s Valentine.
That age old saying, you can’t love someone until you can love yourself has rang really true for me. When I got excited about my life, practiced radical self care, and started to believe that love wasn’t something to fear, but something deep in my heart that could permeate into all of my actions, I was hooked.
Here are 14 ways to get you started:
- Breathe in love, breathe out fear. Try this simple meditation for 5-10 minutes each morning and see what happens! Find a comfortable seat and breathe. It can be challenging in the beginning, so don’t be hard on yourself if it feels weird, doesn’t really make sense, or your mind wanders off the entire time, just practice being with yourself.
- Take a walk. Getting a good dose of fresh air does wonders for our heart and mind. Going for a walk helps us connect to our neighborhoods and reminds us that we are part of something greater.
- Nap. It’s not just for babies and old people! Taking a nap is a wonderful way honor your body and rest. Let’s face it, we all could use some more sleep in our lives!
- Let your light shine. Full on. Go for it. Deep down you know what your amazing qualities are, stop hiding them! Often we are so afraid of the power or light contains that we dim it just to get by. Commit to letting your light out often and truly share your gifts with the world.
- Prepare a nourishing meal. This can be as simple as a seasonal soup or a humble bowl of veggies and protein. Spend time honoring your body though feeding it with consciousness and intention.
- Schedule a breathwork session. Breathwork is all about clearing blocks through loving energy. It is one of the most potent forms of energy work and can heal our emotional and spiritual bodies. Most of us need safe spaces to work through our conditioned patterning and to explore new ways of living.
- Jump on your bed. Part of love ourselves is learning how to really cut loose and have fun. Go ahead and engage in some good old fashioned fun, I dare you!
- Get uncomfortable. It is necessary to let yourself get uncomfortable on all levels in order to grow and develop. Continually taking the easy road and spending your time trying to get comfort, pleasure, and happiness will leave your stuck in habitual patterns unable to reach your true potential. Imagine what your life might look like if you did more of the things that make you feel uneasy.
- Go to bed early. Shut off all the screens, turn down the lights, rub some lavender oil on your temples and crawl in bed early. It’s hard to be fully present and love if we’re exhausted and overworked. Create a new bed time ritual and have sweet dreams.
- Practice forgiveness. This is one of the most powerful spiritual practices. Forgiving others does not mean that we agree with peoples choices and it does not excuse their actions or behaviors. It gives us a path to heal, to take a closer look at ourselves and see where we have been hurtful. Forgiveness presents us with the opportunity to practice living in the moment.
- Clean your room. Keeping a tidy home is a sign that we are grounded in our lives and respect our space. This has nothing to do with fancy furniture, it’s all about creating alignment in your life. If your room is messy chances are your life is a little chaotic. Making the time to get your physical space clean and organized is an easy way to respect ourselves.
- Take a night off. You deserve it. Kick back and read a book. Take a candlelit bath. Enjoy a meal with good friends. Give yourself a break to connect to your heart and nurture all the love within you.
- Stop procrastinating. We all have the thing that we’re putting off. We’re afraid we will fail, that we will look stupid, that we aren’t good enough. Enough. Putting things off causes me a great deal of unnecessary anxiety. Do the work you need to do to create less anxiety and stress in your life.
- Let go of the past. Be willing to release what no longer serves you in ALL areas of your life. Allow yourself to be liberated from the ways your past keeps you from connecting to others in the deepest way possible. Love is just on the other side.
If you single or in partnership and are seeking support with self love I would be honored to hold space for you in an online breathwork session course.
Photo: Anaïs & Dax
A version of this essay originally appeared on The Girl Who Knows.