Healthy Living

This Valentine's Day, nurture your relationship with self

Candy heart. (Gazette file photo)
Candy heart. (Gazette file photo)

This Valentine’s Day, let’s focus on nurturing the most important relationship in your life — the relationship you have with yourself. I believe fashion designer, Diane Von Furstenberg, says it best, “You’re always with yourself so you might as well enjoy the company.”

Are you in good company? We have been conditioned to look outside ourselves for validation, but regardless if you are single, in a relationship, or married; being deserving of love doesn’t require validation from others. The thought that you need to be “worthy” of love is a fallacy. You are worthy of love just because you are brilliantly you.

Self-love may be described as truly and deeply appreciating who you are. Loving yourself unconditionally, just as you love close family members and friends in your life, will provide you with an inner peace that will serve as the foundation of how you love and give of yourself to others.

Adds value to your relationships

Loving yourself sets the tone for the relationships you have with others. Lacking self-love could lead to dysfunctional relationships with food, drugs, alcohol, addiction, over-working or poor relationship choices. The truth is that when you love yourself, you will not tolerate others treating you poorly. Don’t have a partner yet? Loving and appreciating yourself for who you are will attract the love you desire.

Take responsibility for your own happiness

Your relationship with yourself is the key to an authentic, happy life. Too often we look outside our self for affirmation to determine our sense of worth; but the truth is, you are responsible for your own sense of worth and happiness. If you are looking to others to affirm your self-worth, you may be disappointed. Wanting flowers for Valentine’s Day? Great! Give yourself permission to buy them for yourself. Self-love is empowering.

Learn to forgive yourself

Forgiveness of self isn’t necessarily overlooking one’s mistakes, but involves reflecting on those mistakes as an opportunity for growth and learning. Give yourself grace. You are not perfect; however you are perfectly lovable. Be willing to accept and embrace yourself, flaws and all.

Promote overall health and well-being

Loving yourself is often the inspiration that motivates one to make healthy choices.

Struggling with self-love? I know I do at times— especially when I fall short of my own expectations, fail to make self-care a priority or get caught in the act of comparing myself with others. Here are some suggestions I have used in the past that help me get back on track.

How to cultivate self-love:

• Believe you are worthy of love.

• Create daily rhythms for abundant health and wellness.

• Set healthy boundaries and prioritize what matters to you.

• Avoid comparing yourself to others.

• Commit to self-care. Self-care does not have to be expensive or time-consuming. Self-care is any activity that rejuvenates your soul.

• Start today. Commit to doing these things now. You are worth it.

Last thought: A couple thousand years ago, in a debate, the question was asked from a teacher of the law, “What is the greatest commandment?” The answer was simple, yet profound: “Love your Creator with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength is the first; the second greatest is to love your neighbor as yourself.” What if we all lived by this teaching?

Kylie Alger is a certified wellness coach and co-owner of the Well-Woman: Body, Mind & Spirit. Comments: kylie@thewellwoman.org

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