8 Nourishing Ways to Celebrate Self Love on Valentine’s day

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Going back as far as primary school when THE big question was how many cards did you get, Valentine’s day has always been a day loaded with meaning. Right? It was important, somehow a statement about you! My birthday is 2 days after so back then I think I would suggest that a few cards had gotten lost in the post and turned up late!! It took on more importance in the teenage years, even more an indication of your loveability, beauty and popularity! And to top it all, as someone who didn’t get married until I was 41, I spent alot of my late 20’s and 30’s in that Bridget Jones space on Valentine’s day, you know the single one. I’d always get asked about ‘the boyfriend’, in fact can you believe, I was actually asked in an interview(by a man) why I wasn’t married as I was a very pretty young woman!!!! People would say things like you’re high maintenance, too fussy, a career woman and you know, I think that at some subconscious level I did buy into that story, the story there was something wrong with me.

I now know how wrong I was and the only way to stop buying into the stories is to do your own inner work and connect with who you truly are from the inside out. As I have gone on this journey this day has now taken on an equally important aspect for me that I think applies to everyone, that of self love. Yes Valentine’s Day is an occasion when couples celebrate romantic love. However, I think it is also important to make it a day for self-love too. After all, didn’t Whitney Houston once sing, “Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all“?

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I believe we all have to cultivate self-love, whether you are single or attached. It’s nice to be able to share the day with a loved one but I think you should also allocate a bit of time nurturing your own soul. Part of my own self love journey was enquiring what a romantic relationship would give me that I didn’t have and then being curious about what ways I already had this in my life .The obvious answer was love and then I realised I had that in abundance and in so many different forms. I then thought, well that’s good to know and if it turns up in the shape of a life partner, great, if not I’m still all good. Ironically when I got to this place of acceptance , it wasn’t long after that I met the one! Funny that.

So personally I feel that it is far more helpful to think of February 14 as a great day for self-love and invite you to join in! Make it a day for you to go inwards and cultivate self love, single or married. Loving yourself completely and unconditionally is when your true beauty radiates out into the world. While complete self-love is a life time work and every day affair, February 14 can be a day to remind us all about its importance! There is another upside- no need to fork out for expensive, overpriced flowers and meals. Believe me the more you nurture yourself, the more love you have to give to others! It could well be a day that you do less and be more too!

And so, just for Valentine’s Day, it helps to have some nice nurturing activities planned. Do things that lift you up in the body, mind and spirit! Here’s my top 8 suggestions…

1.Make a Gratitude List.
No matter your relationship status. Remind yourself of all of the good in your life by making a gratitude list. Choose 20 things you love about your life just as it is and reflect on how they fulfill you. Write about why each of the people, places, and things you’ve selected make you feel happy and whole.

2.Create a set of loving affirmations for yourself .Here are some examples:
I choose to love myself and appreciate my inner beauty.I cherish my mind, body and soul.
I choose to always be myself and let that be enough
I am loved and I am loveable.

3.Light some candles, make your room cosy, put on some music and meditate. Spoil yourself with your favourite film or meal.

4.Read a meaningful self-help book such as The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown. or Good Vibes Good Life by Vex King

5. Spend the day in aromatherapy. Work on releasing emotions and uplifting your spirit.

6. Pack a picnic, go outdoors and connect with nature .

7.Listen to a podcast of your choice, try Ferne Cotton’s Happy Place. It’s real

8. Dress to Impress… Yourself.
When you look your best, you’re sure to feel your best! This Valentine’s Day, wear an outfit that makes you feel confident. Be brave and pull out that dress that makes you feel like the stunner you are, dust off those heels you love, but never wear, and top it all off with your favourite accessories.

” Its not your job to like me, its mine” Bryan Katie

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The Top 10 Ways To Build Self Love

“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world” Lucille Ball

It’s February and all thoughts turn to Valentine’s day and love, yet how many of us are thinking about the relationship we have with ourselves? How many of us are intentional and purposeful about nurturing and appreciating this relationship? This relationship is one of the most, in fact to my mind, THE most important relationship and yet, more often than not, the one we pay the least attention to. Or the one that, if it were possible, we’d ditch ourselves ‘cos there is not a lot of love going on!! Self- love is the number one secret to a happy life because wherever you go there you are

So as cheesy as the term may sound and it might make you screw your face up as it seems just a little bit self indulgent, then think again. Learning to love yourself is one of the most powerful and important things you can do in life. Your heart is your power and when you become the source of your own love in your life, it changes everything. Your relationships, your career, your confidence, your health, your happiness – they all flourish when you start to love yourself.


What do we mean by self love?

It’s about accepting yourself fully and unconditionally, it’s about treating yourself with the kindness and respect you deserve. It is about having high regard for your own well being and happiness. It allows you to nurture your own growth and wellbeing. When you hold yourself in high esteem, from there you are more likely to make healthy choices. And it does not mean you feel positive all the time, it does not mean you don’t mess up, it does not mean you don’t fail. But when you do, you do for yourself exactly what you would with someone you love dearly. We’ve all been angry with someone we love at some stage but the love we have for them informs how we forgive them, consider their feelings, meet their needs and make decisions that supports them,

So what if I don’t learn to love myself – guys it’s not pretty! Without it, you are highly self critical, fall into people pleasing and perfectionism. You tolerate people who mistreat you, you neglect yourself. Self love is the ultimate foundation in a happy and fulfilling life.

“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance” Oscar Wilde

How do I practise it?

Exactly that practise! It can be challenging for many of us, especially when we face serious challenges. It’s not about being self-absorbed or narcissistic, it’s about getting in touch with ourselves, our well-being and our happiness. We practice self-love so we can push through our limiting beliefs and live a life that truly shines. It is also individual so figuring out what it means for you, is critical to your wellbeing. A great place to start is reading and here’s a book that has blown me away recently Good Vibes, Good Life

Take action too, do yourself a favour, take a deep breath, give yourself a little hug and begin to consciously practice some of the following:

1.Start each day by telling yourself something positive about yourself – how you handled a situation, how nice you look, something you are proud of yourself for.

2.Move your body every single day and learn to love the skin you’re in. You can’t hate your way into loving yourself

3.Spend time around people who uplift, support you, encourage you and make you want to show up as your best self

4.You are not your thoughts or feelings so don’t believe everything you think or feel to be fact. We all have an inner critic trying to keep us “safe” but in the process is not being very loving towards us and keeping us small.

https://www.ted.com/talks/kari_romeo_teach_your_inner_critic_a_new_story

5.Stop the comparisons.There is no one like you and that is your superpower

6.Celebrate your wins no matter how big or small. Pat yourself on the back for progress and effort along the way

7.Take time for yourself each day. Breathe in and out, clear your mind of your thoughts and just be.

8.Learn to say no. Saying no doesn’t make you a bad person, in fact, sometimes it makes you a smart person.

9.Forgive yourself. You know that thing you did one time (or maybe a few times) that made you feel bad, embarrassed, ashamed? It’s time to let that go. You can’t change the things you have done in the past but you can control your future. Look at it as a learning experience and believe in your ability to change.

10.Treat others with love and respect. It makes us feel better about ourselves when we treat others the way we hope to be treated. That doesn’t mean everybody will always repay the favour, but that’s their problem not yours.

Be patient and persistent with yourself. Self-love is forever evolving. It’s something that needs to be practised daily and can take a lifetime to master. So be kind and support yourself through the hard times. Most of all have fun! Get out there and do the things that make your heart sing. Enjoy them, enjoy being you and enjoy your incredible life.

If you liked this blog you may find more inspiration and ideas here The Essential Life Mantra | InShineOut