Happy February ya’ll.
Personally, I’ve never been big on this day, seeing as how I subscribe to the ‘it’s far too cheesy’ school of thought. This might also have to do with the fact that when I hit my teens and was in boarding school, I received Valentine’s Day cards religiously every year. From my mom. Only. Add to that, the popularly accepted symbols used to demonstrate your supposedly deep, strong feelings for your significant other are chocolate and stuffed toys, usually teddy bears. As a general rule, I find the former to be hugely overrated. As for the latter. Again, cheesy. Having said all of that, it’s kind of hard to completely avoid the love theme that pervades this time of year – pink hearts and balloon decorations in malls, in-your-face sales of red roses and the aforementioned chocolates, teddy bears and other cutesy trinkets everywhere, romantic movie specials on TV. So, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em…sans the cheesy factor (can’t comprise too much now).
So, Valentine’s Day is typically about celebrating the love you give to and receive from others, usually your significant other, your love interest, your boo. That’s great. But there’s another, even more important relationship that, far too often, goes without getting nowhere near the same kind of attention. That’s the one between you and you. We have been socialised, especially women, to turn ourselves inside out in an effort to show just how much we love that other person and how deeply committed we are to the relationship. How often have you heard stories of women who have given their all and have gotten nothing in return or, at least, some half baked version of love. And sadly, that is what many of us take on, believing that that is indeed all that we deserve and placing our sense of self worth right down there in the gutter.
I propose something a little different to commemorate the month of love. This is not a novel concept, nor should it be confined to just one day or even an entire month (there is so much more to it than that). And, it doesn’t stop you from celebrating the love around you. In fact, it will most likely even enhance those experiences for you, enabling you to be a much more gracious in receiving it and more generous in giving it. How about you invest a little time, effort and energy learning to love you.
Given the fact that this is a lifelong relationship, doing what is needed to love yourself and keep things in a relatively good place is an ongoing exercise. Just when you think you have the hang of it, something will come along to shake things up, forcing you to go back and reevaluate.
Like I said, the concept of self-love is not new and I won’t even pretend to take credit for it. What got me thinking about it is my latest read Material Girl Mystical World by Ruby Warrington. The book is about her spiritual journey through life – she started working as a highly successful fashion journalist in London and now she’s running a very popular online publication called The Numinous, parlaying her magazine and fashion experience and mixing it up with her passion for astrology, tarot and all things esoteric. In the book she also shares her experiences with exploring her spirituality through things like meditation, yoga and engaging with other women, many of whom have themselves professionals turned mystics, stylishly ditching the conventional for the unconventional. Here’s some of what she writes about self-love and what it’s all about (some of my favourite quotes included). It is….