This Valentine’s Day, I want to fall in love with myself again.
I think deep down you want to fall back in love with yourself, too.
Like me, you’re probably tired of being your own worst critic. Of thinking you’re not doing “all the things” just right. I get it.
It’s easy for us to love fiercely and accept wholly everyone else. Without judgement, without reservation. So why do we fall short of giving ourselves the same affection, attention and understanding that we give to others so freely? You deserve more. And, darn it, so do I.
That’s why this Valentine’s Day, I want you to join my sisterhood of self-love. A place where we practice how to treat our amazing selves with respect, awe and adoration again. Because somewhere along the way, I know a few of us have lost that lovin’ feeling.
So here’s the plan. On February 14th (and, I hope, on all the days that follow)…
We’re forgiving ourselves for the stupid things we’ve done. For the hurtful words that have passed our lips. For the selfish actions that have hurt people we love. And because we want to be released from all guilt and anger, we’re going to forgive those who’ve hurt us. Even if they haven’t asked for it. Because we’re tired of carrying around all that bitterness. Today, my friends, we let that crap go.
We’re not letting another’s opinion invalidate our own. Even if our perspective is unpopular. We’re not delusional, small-minded or stubborn if we don’t agree with someone. And we’re not misguided or mistaken if someone doesn’t agree with us. While we always practice keeping an open mind, we’re done second-guessing our experience, education and gut feelings because someone else speaks a louder or more eloquent argument than we do.
We won’t feel guilty for stealing a few minutes for ourselves. The kids can wait. The laundry isn’t going anywhere. That work deadline will still be there in the morning. Today, we take the time to do our hair, read that book that’s been sitting untouched for a week, take a walk outside or enjoy a cup of coffee in peace and quiet. We’re not being selfish, ladies. We’re practicing self-preservation.
We cease talking ourselves out of our dreams because we think we’re too old or too inexperienced or not smart enough. We stop comparing ourselves—in our professions, on social media and wherever else—to others and determining everyone else is doing it better than we are. We’re firing ourselves as our own worst critic. And hiring ourselves to be our own best champion.
We do something our future self will thank us for. We will invest in our health, a personal goal or even our peace of mind. When you invest in something, it means you see the value in it. We invest in the things that are important to us. It’s time that we become one of those things.
We refuse to claim responsibility for something that should fall on another’s shoulders. Say it after me: “It’s not my fault.” “I didn’t have that hurt coming to me.” “I’m not to blame.” We need to remember that we can’t control how someone treats or speaks to us (they own that), but we can make a decision to distance ourselves from their negativity and rise above their nastiness.
We won’t scrutinize our faces up close in the mirror, scolding them for every dark spot, freckle or blemish. We won’t point out to ourselves—again and again—that our face may be asymmetrical, our nose is too big or our teeth aren’t white enough. Because our complexions are as beautifully complex and unique as a field of wildflowers. We’ll celebrate each wrinkle (each one marks another year on this planet with the people we love) and learn to love our new midlife reflection staring back at us.
We do something that brings us joy. We will eat a piece of chocolate cake or enjoy a glass of wine and not feeling one iota of guilt for it. We will plan a night out dancing with the girls. We will buy ourselves flowers. We will sign up for a yoga retreat. We will stay in our pajamas all day and binge watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Whatever makes our heart happy, we’re on it.
We promise not to treat our emotions as a sign of weakness. It means we care deeply. Do not take our empathy as an invitation that we’re soft. Our hot tears bubble up from a well of passion that burns deep inside of us, bottomless and fierce. It’s this unapologetic compassion that drives us to do the hard things.
We won’t doubt our beauty as a woman. Hey girls, those a-cups are A-OK. Our sexy hips curve out in just the right places. And those thighs with the dimples and ripples that touch in the middle? Aphrodite ain’t got nothing on us. Today, we shut down every self-deprecating thought and statement said aloud as we stand in front of the mirror. We promise not to scan our bodies with such a critical, unforgiving eye. We refuse to condone comparing our perfect-as-God-made-us bodies to air-brushed models or women half our age.
We ask for help when we need it. No one is looking to be made a martyr in this sisterhood. Instead of insisting we can do it all, let’s take that friend up on their offer to carpool. Let’s cash in the favor that one family member still owes us. Let’s lean on those who love us and not feel inadequate when the load becomes too heavy for us to bear alone. Let’s rely on the friends that we’ve been such good friends to.
We forgive ourselves for that bad parenting moment. Today, we lose the guilt for losing our tempers. We give ourselves a pass for not handling that stressful situation with our child the way we know we should have. We laugh at the missteps and giggle at the mistakes. And we understand that no parent is perfect. We live, learn and love better because of it all.
We tell the haters and naysayers in our lives to suck it. The ones who don’t believe in us. The ones who talk behind our backs. The fakes, the phonies, the disingenuous. Ain’t none of us got time for them. Instead, we make a decision today to spend our seconds, minutes, hours, days and years caring for the ones that we can count on, lifting up those who push us to be better and loving the likes of those who love us back.
Happy Valentine’s Day, you beautiful human you.
© Rachael Liska, happyhearthappyhome.com
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