Valentine’s Day is supposed to be all about showing others love, but what about yourself?
Valentine's day is a day set aside to let others know how much we love and care about them. It’s a nice gesture, but how often do you make a special occasion out of loving yourself? And what is self love? People (and we at CAASI) use the term “self care” a lot, but the word “care” and “love” have different levels of intensity. We believe when it comes to feeling a certain way about yourself, with no doubt, it should be love, because if you don’t love yourself, who else will?
What is Self Love?
Dictionaries describe love as being “deeply or intensely committed and connected to a person or thing,” “attraction that includes sexual desire,” or “an intense feeling of deep affection.” So what kinds of things do we do for people we feel this way about? I for one, want to make them happy, make them smile, bring them joy and pleasure, make them feel safe and cared for, like they matter. I’m loyal and I have their back. I want to support them and see them succeed. I want them to also have space so they can nurture their independence and admire the things that make them unique. If only I had a person like this that would love me as much as I love them! Oh wait, I do, it’s me! I say this in jest, but it took me way longer than I would like to admit before I figured this out.
Is it selfish or narcissistic?
It takes a while because we (especially us women) are conditioned by society to take care of others first and if we don’t, we’re made to feel like a bad family member, bad friend, bad daughter, bad wife, bad employee, bad mother, bad pet owner, the list goes on… It’s rooted deep in our psyche to put others first. It starts way before childhood and it’s passed on generation after generation. Be a good girl and ______ (fill in the blank...usually something to do with doing a task for someone else, to please someone else, other than yourself). So in this quest of trying to be a good person, regardless of gender, and as society expects us to be, it’s easy to forget to put ourselves first. Sometimes if we try to put ourselves first, we get the sharp reminder from others that we’re not playing by the established rules. That’s where we get smacked in the face with guilt and shame. It feels awful so most of us fall back in line and think it’s just easier to go back to the ways we allow ourselves to be conditioned. Saying yes, when our instinct tells us no, because anything less would just be selfish. That's what we tell ourselves. But is it really selfish? No! In fact, you’re just unknowingly harming yourself and everyone around you!
People have been doing it for ages. Were they ahead of their time?
In planes, parents are always told in cases of emergency to “secure your oxygen mask first” so we can help our children or others. I still think it’s still one of the best examples today, because if you lose consciousness, get sick, are tired, burnt out, depleted….you not only have nothing to give the others that need you, in some cases you won’t even be able to help yourself. Kings and Queens practice self care, and still do. How else are they going to have the energy to rule countries? Maybe that’s a bad example, but you get the point. If you care for, or better yet love yourself and get what you need to rejuvenate and thrive, then it will be amazing to have the extra energy to play with your kids, spend quality time with grandpa in the garden, want to be intimate with your partner, work on that special project at work, volunteer at the charity of your choice or whatever it is that you want or need to do.
How do you do it?
So how do you practice self love? Make it a habit. Block out time for it in your day. I challenge you to go to your calendar right now. On February 14th, carve out an hour for you and only you and set that reminder on repeat weekly. No one else, just you. Spend that hour doing something that makes you feel great and rejuvenates you. Maybe you spend that hour journaling, playing your favorite game, meditating, having a latte with CAASI drops in it, lighting candles, or drawing a hot bath using CAASI bath bombs to soak your cares away. Whatever you do, make sure it leaves you feeling good. You don’t have to do the same activity each week, but make sure you set the time aside on your calendar, so you book your alone time on repeat. To start, you might only do it once a week, and then work your way up to once a day. Then, maybe quarterly you take a weekend, annually you take a week away until it becomes second nature and you no longer need to remind yourself, and loving you becomes a way of life. The point is that you deserve it, and all the people around you will see a difference because the quality of what you are able to give to yourself and to them will improve. If you have people around you that aren’t supportive? Well, let’s just save that for another blog post.
If you already practice self love, what do you like to do and how often do you do it? Share in the comments below and I hope that Valentine’s Day begins to feel less like a “Hallmark holiday” where we just buy for others, and it becomes a welcome reminder that the designated day for love is not just about showing your love to others but a reminder of how you should shamelessly feel great about loving yourself. Every. Single. Day.