Happy Valentine’s Day!
Happy Single Awareness Day!
Happy Married Too Long to Care But Society Makes Us Feel Like We Should Day!
Happy Husband Sleeps On the Couch Because He Didn’t Get His Wife’s Hint that She Actually Wanted Flowers This Year Day!
Depending on your current relationship status and the situation going on inside your heart, Valentine’s Day can go several different directions. We see and hear all the Valentine’s Day stories on social media – the good, the bad and the ugly. I could pound away at this keyboard and tell you how I feel about the commercial holiday but instead I want to talk about something else.
Instead of worrying about what you will or won’t get from your significant other, why not take Valentine’s Day (and the first day of Lent) to think about how much you love yourself. And I’m sure you are thinking “Duh, look at me, right? What’s not to love?” But I’m not talking about the person you project when you are around your friends and family. I’m talking about the real you – the you that has an inner child begging to be heard – the you that is insecure, the you that has held onto something someone said a long time ago. And while you tell yourself it doesn’t bother you, you’re over it – it does bother you and you’re not really over it.
It’s no secret that I have been on a journey this past few years, and one of the biggest parts of that journey was learning to love myself no matter how I felt. It’s easy to feel good about ourselves when things are going smooth and the way we want them to … but what about when we don’t like what is happening in our lives or even worse, we don’t like the person we see in the mirror? This Valentine’s Day, I encourage to take a look at yourself and take a chance on loving yourself. For far too long, I looked to others to nourish my soul. I could live on one person’s compliment for close to a month, if not more. I’m not even joking. I never once thought that I needed to be complimenting myself. I knew I was a good person and I was kind, I could be pretty at times with the right outfit and makeup – okay, sure – but I did I tell myself I was beautiful? Did I call myself talented? At maybe eating a whole pizza by myself, that’s about it. So no I didn’t do those things. Instead, I expected my husband to be a mind reader and know when to give me a compliment. He should just know, right? I mean, that has to be in the fine print of the marriage contract … under Section D, paragraph three? Anyone want to double-check?
I would put on a bright and alluring fishing lure and cast my line out, fishing for a compliment. I love my husband but everything pretty much has to be right in front of him in order for him to get it. Some days if I wanted for him to bite my compliment set-up, I’d be sitting there … all day … waiting for him to catch on.
And yes, my husband should be saying nice things to boost my ego, your partner should be doing the same thing, but the compliments should be treated more like icing or the cherry on top of the sundae – not the layers of ice cream and hot chocolate. A sundae is still a sundae without the cherry, by the way. You’re still amazing with or without that extra compliment you’re waiting around for. And in case you forgot I am going to break it down for you:
You’re still amazing without a compliment from someone else.
You’re still funny even if no one told you just how funny you are.
You’re still beautiful – no matter if someone told you so or not – not matter if you’re makeup style is glam, natural, hot mess or if you prefer to go sans makeup.
You’re still gorgeous with acne, scars, wrinkles, lines, sagging skin, double or triple chins, turkey necks, bat wings, stretch marks, varicose veins, cellulite, rosacea, eczema, that weird mole that you keep forgetting to have removed, etc.
You’re still smart even if you made a big mistake that made you look like an amateur in your line of work.
You’re still talented even if you doubt your abilities, and no one seems to be catching onto your greatness just yet.
You’re dreams are still worth fighting for even if you failed time and time again.
You’re still worthy even when you don’t feel like you are anything.
You’re still enough even if you do decide to give up on something.
You’re still perfect even when you don’t meet the requirements of what this world says is perfect. I’d like to point out that you’ll never meet those requirements and they don’t matter; God knows all these things about you and he loves you. If he knows (not thinks, knows) you are amazing, funny, beautiful, talented, smart, worthy and perfect then why can’t you believe in yourself just a little bit?
Your inner child, she believes them – deep down, she’s rooting for you. She might be scared but she’s your inner cheerleader, just waiting for you to open your arms and to let her shine again.
So if you’re thinking – okay, yeah I think it is time I start learning about what it means to love myself but where do I even start? I want you to know that making the commitment to love yourself is AH-MAZING but it will be a challenge at first, like any new thing, it will take some time to get used to but once the foundation is set up, it will be much easier to maintain and build on.
Second thing is that self-love takes some awareness and you should be gentle with yourself. You can’t go from making the commitment to self-love and personal growth and be a levitating guru by the end of the day? Believe me, I have tried, there is no short cut when it comes to personal growth and we all grow at our own pace … it may feel like you’re moving slower than a darn sloth some days but everything works out in God’s perfect timing. Trust.
But if you are looking for some ways to start cultivating some self-love habits, here a few from my playbook.
Start each morning with a positive affirmation. This doesn’t have to be something cliché or one of those motivational posters hanging up. Think about one area of yourself you want to work on and start there. Do you complement your looks, your talents, your ability to keep your kids alive? No? Then start there. Pick one and start. Set an alarm on your phone with one sentence that is a positive statement about yourself. It’s going to feel silly at first but when you read it, say it out loud and then repeat it to yourself often throughout the day. Eventually, you will feel good enough to build on that one sentence, adding on a sentence about each area of your life until you have your own unique affirmation. And eventually, you won’t need the alarm or it even written down somewhere. You’ll have it memorized and it’ll be part of your every day routine, like brushing your teeth. Everyone’s self-care techniques are different and the same goes for affirmations. They should be tailored just for you.
Another thing to try is to write down some things you have always wanted to try but never did because of whatever excuse you came up with. Look at your list and pick one, start small. You want to read more books? Go to the library and try audio books for the commute. You want to pamper your face more but don’t have the greens to do so? Wal-Mart has a great selection of face masks ranging from $1-$3, start there. Prefer something more natural? Pinterest has great recipes for face masks. And the best part is that most of them you can eat. I suggest creating one with brown sugar and honey, walk over to your kids with your face covered and use your finger to scrape off the mask, eating it in front of them. It’s a great way to gross them out.
You want to update your wardrobe? Target clearance or Amazon. Make that Prime membership work.
Is there a TV show you have been wanting to watch but haven’t gotten around to it? Put it on while you fold some laundry. Tell your kids you’re watching a movie or show just for you, grab the laptop and headphones and zone out for a bit on couch, while your kids watch Lego Batman for the 1,675th time.
Want to craft more? Pick something on your Pinterest that’s small and easy and spend a few minutes on it each night or dedicate an hour to it one weekend. My advice is to tell no one at first, because if it’s a fail, then no one has to know … unless it’s so bad it’s hilarious then by all means, laugh it off and share it with the world.
If you don’t feel like you have time for any of that? Then I’d suggest working on positive self-talk and seeing where that takes you. I will say that, if you have 5 minutes to check your social media, you have five minutes to work on yourself. Look, I get it, I have three younger children, a full-time job, a spouse who is gone 50 percent of the time and yet, here I am doing what I can because I know that the greatest love isn’t what someone else can give us, it’s what we give ourselves.
We have so much inside of us, just waiting to be explored and tapped into to use to help ourselves and others, specifically in God’s name.
Loving yourself is the best kind of selfish there is – it’s showing your children that their own happiness lies within themselves and not what someone can give them. It’s showing your loved ones and friends that they, too, can take better care of themselves. When you build your positivity, it’s contagious.
So whatever your Valentine Day plans are, I implore you to really think about what you believe about yourself and question it and learn from it. The greatest love on this Earth is the one between you and yourself, after all, you can never escape yourself so why not love instead of self loathe? Why not embrace what you are and what you are not and what you hope to be instead of filling your head with shame and disgrace? If you’re thinking it’s too hard, I, too, thought I wasn’t worth the effort and could just settle with being comfortable and mediocrity. I wasn’t mean to myself but I wasn’t nice, either. And that was a problem, but I’m working it and I never plan on stopping.
Take it from me, a recovery perfectionist/people pleaser, I was hard on myself and had ridiculous expectations of myself for far too long. After all, we are only human but with Christ, who lives in us, all things are possible. And he wants you to see yourself the way He does – perfect. So sorry ladies, I love a good romance, however, I believe the greatest love story is the one we write about ourselves. And I don’t know about you, but I want my love story to be a best-seller.