I have to admit, I have never been a big fan of this day. Even when I have been in serious, committed relationships, I get anxious and start to feel the pressure as February rolls around. What gift to I get? What date do we plan? What do I wear? What if they forget? Or worse! If you’re in a new relationship, do you even mention it!? Do you pretend like the holiday doesn’t exist because Lord KNOWS, we wouldn’t want a guy to think we are eager and actually interested in celebrating a day about feelings with them lest we look too excited. (Can you hear my voice dripping in sarcasm?)
In the last year or so, as I approached the big 3-0, I turned my focus on myself and the search to discover happiness without the help of anyone else. I am one of those people who loves to put everyone else’s needs over my own; my dog, my partner, my friends and my family. I always seem to let things that used to define me fall by the way side in an attempt to make things easier for others or to let their priorities take precedent. It has constantly been something that I struggle with. But for maybe the first time in my life, I am fully embracing the things that fulfill me, inspire me, challenge me and make me feel the most like myself and I am running towards them instead of shying away.
Here is one small example. Growing up, I was a big athlete (believe it or not!) and I have found that reconnecting with that part of myself has reinvigorated a piece of me that I thought was gone. And I no longer let myself feel guilty for taking that hour every day to sweat; it doesn’t make me a bad puppy mom or a selfish friend, it actually makes me a better one because I am more energized, focused, present and playful! Taking these sort of small but significant steps towards self love have helped me to make huge leaps forward this year.
So I have decided to face February 14th with a new perspective this year.
It is still a day about love, but I am turning all that love back on myself. In order to love all the people in my life the way I want to, I first need to share some of that with myself and thank my body and heart for everything it has done for me over the years. It has carried me all over the country, given me a voice to sing with, hips to shake and funny faces to make my niece laugh over FaceTime. I have laugh lines from late nights of wine and laughing until I am crying with my best friends. I have a heart that is open and vulnerable even after being hurt, that loves to help lift others up. I have a strong backbone that stands up for what I believe in and hopefully inspires others to be brave and passionate. I am sometimes riddled with self doubt and questioning about where I am in life compared to where I imagined myself to be at this point. I am proud of the woman I am becoming and the discoveries I have made in the last few years about what I deserve and want from my life. I am full of flaws but I acknowledge them and am working on being a better version of me every day.
So here is my challenge to myself and to you if you care to join me. Let’s not only make today a day about self-love, but to make it an every day practice. I want to practice saying kind words to myself and about myself, be gentler when I make a mistake or don’t perfectly succeed. I think that by starting with ourselves and treating ourselves kinder, we can be even better to our loved ones and the world!
I hope you will join me in this self-love challenge! Let’s hold each other accountable and lift each other up to be our strongest, most powerful versions of ourselves.