Self-love. It’s an allusive thing. Some days we think we have it, confident we’ll never turn back. We wake up feeling great, throw on our favorite jeans or sundress and just know that we are amazing. Other days, it doesn’t matter what we do, that feeling of joy and confidence in ourselves slips straight through our fingers.
This time of year, those moments of self-love can feel especially allusive as we watch the couples everywhere snuggle up for Valentine’s Day dates and dinners. It feels like everyone and everything around us is saying, “You aren’t part of a pair. You aren’t worthy of love.”
That makes this the perfect time of year to call B.S. on the idea that we need to be part of a couple to be truly loved. Why? Because you can’t give away what you can’t give yourself. It doesn’t take a life partner to teach you how to give unconditional love. It doesn’t take forgiving your parents for their mistakes to know forgiveness. You have to start with your own complicated, damaged, unapologetically beautiful self.
1. Start practicing unconditional love for your Self (and yes, that includes your cellulite, your social awkwardness, your terrible form in warrior III, all of it), and suddenly it will become easier to accept other people as they are.
2. Look back at your own life mistakes, your own moments of weakness and realize that you were only doing the best that you could, just like the rest of us. Soften towards yourself, and you’ll realize that you don’t feel such a hard grudge towards others that have hurt you or done you wrong.
These are the first steps back to reclaiming our self-love. Practice this and you’ll find that the mornings you wake up feeling wonderful and confident will start to outweigh the mornings of doubt and self-criticism.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that with this practice we’ll never have moments of doubt and fear. The point is to see those moments and realize they’re temporary and necessary. Those moments of doubt are critical. They keep us balanced. They give us the space to step back and say: “What can I be doing better here?” “What am I allowing to affect me more than it should?” “Where can I show up more fully?” Or, “Am I really living with as much compassion as possible?”
My challenge to you this Valentine’s Day is to accept the challenge the world is giving you. Shift the perspective back to yourself. Keep these two practices in your pocket and ask yourself out on a date. Treat yourself to a spa day without waiting for someone else to gift it to you. Allow yourself the space the take the day off and do that one thing you love, that makes you feel so immensely alive, but that you’re always too busy to do.
Don’t wait for permission to love yourself as well as you would love that dream guy. Start now. Do it today. Permission given.
This piece originally appeared on yoganonymous.com and was part of a month-long Wanderlust and YOGANONYMOUS series about self-love. – See more at: http://www.yoganonymous.com/2-steps-to-reclaiming-your-self-love