WRITTEN BY ALICIA KOCH, FOUNDER OF THE LEGAL BELLETRIST
It’s the month of love and around the world people are oohing and aahing over Valentine’s Day cards and meals out with their loved ones.
It’s a time for Rom Coms galore, chocolates and even a glass of bubbly or two. Because you know – we are celebrating love in all its glory.
Cupid doing his thing and living his best life.
The funny thing is, whether in a relationship or not, we kind of miss the point. We are so used to expressing love outwardly and for other people that we completely neglect the love that we should be exercising for ourselves inwardly. Self-love. Self-care. Self-respect.
These three things are all interconnected. And they are all about the Self.
Because if you have respect for yourself and care for yourself, ultimately you are showing love for yourself.
And that’s where I think Cupid sometimes misses the mark. Because, let’s be honest, taking a leaf out of the magnificent Ru Paul’s book – “if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”.
Can I get an “Amen” up in here?
But, self-love? I’m a complete hypocrite.
If I seem like I have everything all wrapped up in one big bow with my (excuse the language) shite together – that would be a big fat lie.
I don’t. Far from it.
You see, when it comes to expressing self-love, I am the absolute worst at it. So, basically I’m a hypocrite – writing all about self-love, care and respect when I don’t do any of that for myself.
Then again, it’s always so much easier to advise others on how to live their best life without doing so yourself…. It makes you think, doesn’t it?
The truth is, I’m pretty hard on myself. I put immense pressure on myself to do better, to do more, to be more, to give more. Constantly. It always feels like I’m filling other people’s cups up while my own runs dry.
If we are being honest here.
This is truer now – over the last couple of weeks – than ever before.
Sure, life happens and sometimes we do need to put others’ needs before our own. But the big question is – how often does this really happen?
For me personally and as much as I love my partner, my family and my friends (and am immensely grateful for all of them), I would probably guess that putting others’ needs before my own happens more often than not.
It’s no wonder that I’m kind of feeling like a big cloud is hanging over my head and it’s starting to drizzle. With no raincoat or umbrella, not even Cupid’s arrow can help me now.
So, putting my “big girl panties on”, it’s time to take some action. And refill my own cup. After all – there’s a universal rule (especially in aviation) – you need to put your own oxygen mask on first, before attempting to help those around you. Sure, this may sound selfish. Putting yourself before others. But it’s also very, very necessary.
Ain’t that the truth! YOU are your longest and greatest commitment, so why not make yourself a priority? Why not do things for yourself?
The answer is simple (and it should be easy) – there is absolutely no reason not to. If everyone else is getting in the way of doing that or all your commitments have become too much for you to cope with, then you need to start making some room.
How do we exercise self-love, self-care and self-respect?
The Beatles once crooned “All you need is love” and while I can (almost) wholeheartedly agree, it’s the all you need is self-love part that is missing.
I need to fall in love with myself again.
In order to do that – and for me – I always need to understand what it is (at its core) that I am trying to do. Falling in love with other people, like my hubby, was easy. I know how to do that. But finding and falling in love with myself is a whole different ball game.
So, to begin the self-love journey, I need to understand what “self-love” truly means.
According to the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, self-love is defined as follows –
“Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self-love means having a high regard for your own well-being and happiness. Self-love means taking care of your own needs and not sacrificing your well-being to please others. Self-love means not settling for less than you deserve.”
And that seems straight forward enough… supporting our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. But I’m still not 100% sure how to go about doing that.
So, here’s what I’m going try …
7 Steps to falling in love with yourself
The thing is, I have never said “no” before. I’ve never felt that it was ok to tell someone that their words had hurt me or that their actions were not acceptable. I haven’t put up boundaries before. So doing it now (seemingly “all of a sudden”) has been a bitter pill for others to swallow. But it’s been necessary. You see, it’s often so much easier to believe the negative things, the cruel things, the degrading things about ourselves, than to believe all the good stuff about who we are inside. The things I have done, the people I have helped, the work I have done and what I have accomplished, the love I do give to others. I have forgotten about all the successes. All because one person told me I wasn’t worthy. Being kind to myself also means sticking up for myself. Saying no. And not taking the hurt. So, yes, I need to start setting some healthy boundaries.
But they are steps in the right direction.
Falling in love with someone else is amazing, staying in love takes work but loving yourself is the most important thing any of us can do – we are our longest commitments. It’s time to put in the work.
Now not to be facetious or weird about it, but tonight I’m going to run a bubble bath, pour myself a glass of bubbly, put on my favorite song and have a date with myself.
But that’s me and my journey. How are you going to start loving yourself? What one thing can you do right now that is solely for your own happiness? Go on, do it. And then, every day, do it that little bit more.
Alicia, an admitted attorney with over 10 years PQE, and now a legal writer and researcher, has established The Legal Belletrist to assist companies (in different sectors) to write well-researched articles that speak to each company’s core business, enabling growth and commercialism.
Click here to visit The Legal Belletrist website.