Valentine’s Day isn’t something my other half and I celebrate – love is for the whole year, not just one overhyped, overpriced day, right? (Cynical, me?!).
Valentine’s Day is, for me, about all sorts of love, not just the romantic kind. Love for your children, love your your family friends, platonic love.
Love for yourself.
And it’s that love I think we can tend to forget about.
I know I do.
The concept of ‘loving yourself’ can have negative connotations: that you think you are the most wonderful thing in the world ever and everyone else should too, that you have your head up your own backside that you are selfish and narcissistic.
That’s because we are taught to be humble, modest, and to cut down tall poppies.
In the two years since my illness, and Hugo’s birth and death I have been working on not just loving myself but liking myself.
I can’t love myself without liking myself: and in order to like myself I have to forgive myself.
To acknowledge and accept that everything that happened was not my fault. That there is nothing I could have done differently.
To acknowledge and accept how I am now, with my ups and my downs.
To acknowledge and accept that I am allowed to enjoy life, to have fun. To feel proud of my achievements.
To understand I can leave the guilt behind.
To understand I can stop punishing myself.
To accept I can be kind to myself.
It’s not easy.
I am working on the new core values I have established for myself.
I am trying to love myself. Love myself how I would want for others: respect, kindness, empathy, compassion.
Believing in myself (and what’s wrong with thinking you are the most wonderful thing in the world? Self-belief shouldn’t be a dirty term, we need to learn the distinction between that and self-obsession).
Taking space when I need it (that’s often).
Giving myself space to breathe, to be.
And build that resilience.
Take my own advice, remember that I cannot pour from an empty cup.
It’s something I owe to Hugo.
And to everyone I love, and who love me.
To love myself first.
To understand too that I am loved, that I am loveable, that I am worthy of love.
What will you do to love yourself first?
Not just today, but every day?