Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!
I like Valentine’s day. Not because of all the romantic, over-the-top, fuzzy bears holding hearts parts of the day, but mostly because I love love.
I love sharing love with my family and my friends. I love feeling loved. I think love is the best part of living. So I like this day, as it is a day to celebrate the thing I believe so much in.
But today, I don’t want to focus on romantic love, or even on love between friends and family.
Today, I want to focus on the love we save for ourselves.
Or, more accurately, I want to focus on the lack of love we save for ourselves so much of the time.
A lot of us are so busy giving love to others – giving our time and energy and resources away – that we forget to give all of those same things to ourselves.
Here’s a little example of what I mean:
I have a client who I’ve been working with for a while now. We’ve covered a lot of ground during her coaching program and she’s made a lot of progress. But recently she found herself stuck on several of her goals. After doing some digging during one of our sessions, she came to realize that one of the things getting in her way was that setting aside time and energy to complete her goals felt selfish. She had a lot of things to do for other people, and she always ended up putting those things ahead of the things she wanted to do for herself. Ultimately, she felt guilty when she was spending too much energy on herself, and so she ended up putting those things aside and not getting to them. Even if that meant suspending her action plans and not reaching her personal goals.
Sound familiar to any of you?
This is not an uncommon struggle. A lot of us end up feeling self-centered and even selfish when we do things for ourselves. And as a result, we put our own goals on hold in favor of putting others first.
Let me be clear for one second – I don’t have anything against selflessness and giving of ourselves for the good of others. In fact, I think the world would be in a lot better shape if we all thought of others a lot more. What I do have a problem with is when doing things for ourselves is perceived (either by ourselves or by others) as selfish.
What if I told you that taking care of yourself, and showing yourself some self-love, was one of the best things that you could do for your friends and family? When we prioritize giving ourselves some love (and some extra time and energy and resources), we are better able to show up for and be there for our loved ones. We are able to be our best selves: rested and taken care of and full of energy and ready to share our radiance with the people we care about.
When we give and give and use up all of our resources, we having nothing left over for ourselves. And as a result, our cup ends up empty. Empty cups can’t nurture others, and they certainly can’t nurture ourselves.
Self-love and self-care is not selfish. I’ll repeat that because I’m guessing it’s going to be hard to let it to sink in: self-love and self-care is not selfish.
Love yourself, in part to better love others. And more importantly, love yourself because you deserve to.
The client I mentioned above has made it her goal, and the focus of several coaching sessions, to work on this for herself. She is now actively working to find a healthy balance between giving to others and giving to herself. And it's paying off.
Now I won’t say that it will be easy to learn to love yourself more. It won’t be easy to redefine what it means to take care of yourself vs. what it means to be selfish. For so many of us, these two things have become really muddled and intertwined, so that we end up feeling like any step we make just for ourselves is self-centered and selfish. While in reality, loving yourself and being selfish are not the same thing.
It might be hard work, but is oh so worth it to try. So why not take steps to learn to love yourself more?
Begin by practicing doing something for yourself every day (whether that is very small or very big). That doesn’t mean doing something selfish. As the client I mentioned above likes to say, it means doing something self-full. Or self-forward. Or self-first. Whatever you want to call it, make sure it involves taking care of yourself and reserving some love for yourself.
So what are you going to do today (and tomorrow, and the next day) for yourself? What do you need to do to feel loved and taken care of by yourself?
Practice moments of self-love, and remember:
“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
With so much love for all of you,
P.S. If you'd like to learn more about how I can help support this process, and what it would be like to be coached, feel free to set up a free consultation. We'll chat it over and I can answer any questions you might have.