Well it was Valentine’s Day yesterday and so I was having a read up on love and where that all started. Things seem to be a bit murky about who St Valentine actually was. There are apparently 3 saints – all called Valentine – all were killed – watch out if you were called Valentine in the 3rd century!
One of the rumours is that he was a priest who went against the emperor Claudius who had banned young men from marrying as he felt it affected their ability as soldiers. Valentine thought that was a bit mean, so being the rebellious sort, decided he would continue to marry Christians.
One of the other Valentines, or maybe the same one, fell in love with his jailer’s daughter and when it came time for him to be executed, he left her a note, signed “From Your Valentine”.
And then there was the church – who decided – like they did for Christmas – that they would hijack a pagan celebration called Lupercalia, which was all about spring, and fertility. It was traditionally celebrated on Feb 13-15. And at least 2 of the Saint Valentines were killed on the 14th Feb. So, in the late 5th century Pope Gelasius declared the 14th Feb to be St Valentines Day.
Put all that together and enter Hallmark cards of America in the early 20th century and you have today’s Valentine’s Day. It’s a day where we show our love for other people.
But what about the most important person of all? You!
There is one ironic truth about loving other people – and it is this. Until you can love yourself, you can never truly love someone else, nor expect them to love you. I know. Harsh right? But true.
If you do not love yourself, but you love someone else – you might think you are selfless. However, you probably feel secretly pleased with yourself for that. It’s called martyr syndrome. Ask me how I know that.
If you don’t know yourself, and knowing your faults and flaws, have compassion and love yourself, how can you really love others? And without being happy – which comes from knowing and accepting and loving yourself, you will be searching for that happiness from others – that you love. Well, that’s a) not gonna work and b) pretty selfish when you think about it.
The problem is – even though we KNOW we should love ourselves, most of us don’t know where to start. It sounds selfish and arrogant, doesn’t it, loving yourself?
So here are my 5 tips for starting to love yourself. You’ll be amazed at the difference small things can make.
- Have alone time – regularly. Alone time is where you switch off from the matrix. No phone, no social media, and just hang out…with yourself. Go see a movie no-one else you know wants to see. Have champagne and oysters at the airport on the travel home (as a friend of mine frequently does that one). Find one of those coffee houses/book shops where you can spend a few hours chilling with a good book. Go for a walk on the beach, or in the country. Meditate. When you can be happy alone you are better company – because you are being with people because you want to be, and not because you don’t want to be alone.
- Accept that you are not perfect. No-one is. And no-one expects you to be apart from you (and maybe your parents!). Every single person in the world is flawed. If only everyone understood this. There are people walking around out there MISERABLE and depressed because they think they are the only ones who are “overweight, ugly, stupid, alone”, or whatever else they believe to be true about themselves. First off, accept that everyone has stuff they carry around with them. Everyone has made mistakes, failed, done something really stupid, hurt other people on purpose or by accident, said things they wish they hadn’t, made bad decisions. Get over yourself. And give yourself a flipping break. Oh, and whilst I am on it, stop comparing yourself to anybody else. You are YOU. And you can never BE anyone else. And why would you want to be? You are uniquely, gloriously, and imperfectly YOU. Love those imperfections. They are yours, they are part of what makes up the whole imperfect perfection of you. And you have them for a reason, you may not know what that reason is yet. But you will.
- Detach from toxic people. That could be friends or family. Or it could be the whinger you follow on Twitter or that person who gossips about and bad mouths everyone on Facebook – yes it might be funny but it’s really not helpful. You need to surround yourself with what you want, not with what you don’t want. Switch off the news. Stop watching reality TV, or just TV in general. Be kind to yourself and avoid the crap.
- Go to bed early. Yeah – I know – you can’t, you don’t have time, you have too much to do. Or maybe …….it is FOMO. Fear of missing out. When we are kids we are told to go to bed early, whilst the grown ups have fun, watch cool stuff on TV, talk, play games, do grown up stuff (whatever it is we think they do when we are in bed). And we feel like we are missing out. Have you ever heard yourself say, ‘but I have only just sat down, it’s too early to go to bed’. No? Just me then! But seriously, the old adage, an hour before midnight is worth 2 after, may or may not be right, but just taking that time to make sure you get enough rest, is the height of self-love. No-one can run on an empty battery for very long. And if you combine that with a nice soak in the bath, a face mask, or reading something that makes you smile, then you may not “spring out of bed in the morning” (who does that anyway except small kids), but at least you won’t struggle to get your eyes open!
- Send yourself a love letter. Now I’m not talking about turning into Narcissus. I’m talking about appreciating yourself for what you do. You COULD actually write yourself a love letter telling yourself what you love about you. Or if that feels too contrived, you could just write down every day 3 or 4 things that you did well, that you are proud of yourself for. And – in lipstick – or crayon – or anything else that works – write “I Love You” on your bathroom mirror, and say it out loud when you see it. It may feel weird at first. But trust me, you’ll get used to it. And then you might even start to mean it. And blimey – anything could happen then!
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To find out about removing your blocks in life, the things that stop you from moving forwards, talk to Cheryl about Rapid Transformational Therapy email on cheryl@cheryl–chapman.com