Valentine’s day used to be one of my least favorite holidays, I felt like it was only for those who had romantic love in their lives and I was missing out. That is until I learned that love is the most incredible healing force in the universe. Love is our super power, and we can have it and use it for healing ourselves and our lives. Imagine having a superpower of love. Rather than feeling lonely and lost, suddenly you feel empowered because you have love inside yourself!
A few weeks ago, I met with Stacy, a successful businesswoman who spent her thirties building her career. While her friends were getting married and starting families, she was working long hours and commuting to work. She came to my office in a deep depression, full of fear and worry about her future. Though she had a thriving business and many friendships, she felt unsatisfied with life and alone. She had been through several relationships but never felt like the other person was fully invested. She wondered if she had missed her opportunity for love.
Have You Fallen Out of Love?
I think many of us live with this fear, whether we are in committed relationships or not. Are we truly loved as deeply as we could be? Have we missed something meaningful? But the most important love comes from inside of us. Healing with Stacy began with examining her relationship with herself. We uncovered that her self-talk was extremely negative. While she had sacrificed many years to be where she was on the corporate ladder, she wasn’t truly happy with her job.
As we brought each buried truth to light, she had a profound realization: she had fallen out of love with her life. This had caused her to treat herself harshly each day during her commute, every time she answered the phone, and when she would get a knock on the door at her office.
Are you in love with yourself? With your life? Are you living your purpose? Is your outward identity a true representation of your innermost self? Depression is often the result of this disconnect. Love is one of the most important elements in our healing journey.
Love is in Our Response to Ourselves
Every moment of the day, we are presented with two options: respond with love, or respond with negativity. In order to cultivate love in the world, we must first learn to respond to our mistakes with love. This means banishing the body-shaming, halting self-criticism, and accepting that we are all works in progress. It can be tough to practice self-love in the social media age, where we are constantly presented with everybody else’s best. While we flip through the highlight reels of friends and family, it can be hard to resist the urge to compare ourselves with others and come up short.
Instead, do something kind for yourself today. Take a night off from social media, instead have a relaxing bath with your favorite essential oils. Make your favorite meal for dinner. Treat yourself to a massage or acupuncture session. These small kindnesses can help us quiet our minds to the negative chatter and constant stream of information from the outside world, and can help us look within.
5 Minutes to Self-Acceptance
One of my favorite ways to practice self-love is this exercise in body acceptance. Spend five minutes writing down everything you love about your body. Write as many things you can, as quickly as you can. This short exercise (only 5 minutes!) can completely transform our perspective. Instead of looking for flaws and imperfections, we’re now focused on the many miracles our bodies perform on a daily basis.
Getting to Know Ourselves Again
If, like Stacy, you find that you’ve strayed from your true self, set aside some time to get to know yourself again. Meditation is a wonderful way to clear all of the inner chatter about who we are supposed to be. I recommend using a journal to write down your hopes, dreams, and favorite things. With Stacy, something as simple as naming her favorite color was a challenge. She had taken on so many different energies to become successful that she had forgotten herself in the process.
The most important thing to do to expand your love, is to reach out and be loving to someone else. When we give love to another who is in need, without thought for ourselves, it has a boomerang effect. The love we give helps the other person feel better, but it also washes over us, so that we get to experience the glow. This is how we are designed – to give love and to receive love. Love is our Super Power! And it’s available to everyone! This Valentine’s Day, I wish you a beautiful day, week, month, and year of loving yourself truly. When we are firmly rooted in self-love, we can’t help but share this outpouring of love with others.