It is almost Valentine’s Day, and most people think of this as the traditional Hallmark holiday for lovers, all about romance and chocolate and teddy bears. I prefer to think of it as a holiday for universal love, which includes self-love.
One of the ways I find happiness is practicing self-love daily, which means setting aside time for healthy practices like meditation and exercise, eating healthy food and staying hydrated, not smoking or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, and going after my dreams, because in the process of pursuing our dreams, we become the people we have always wanted to be.
I encourage you during this Valentine’s Day week to give yourself the gift of self-love. I’m inviting all you to be a part of a group coaching program I am offering, which centers around self-love: AwesomeGoddessPosse.com
Too Hard On Ourselves
Women especially are taught from a young age that we are supposed to look a certain way (generally, like Barbie dolls); act a certain way (nice to everyone, and never making waves), accomplish certain things (have a successful career), and be certain things (a wife, a mother, a good daughter, a great sister, a loving friend). While there is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to “have it all” in life, the fear of not being “good enough” causes so many women to come to hate themselves.
I don’t think hate is too strong a word. In the days when I was bulimic, I hated myself for doing it, but didn’t know how to stop binging and throwing up because I was terrified of gaining weight, but didn’t want to stop eating.
Of course, the bulimia arose from not loving and accepting myself and my body. Healthy women with high self-esteem don’t need to emotionally eat, and don’t purge their food.
I spent years hating myself for not being “good enough” in my own eyes, because I couldn’t manage to be Angelina Jolie, Madonna and Hillary Clinton rolled into one (beautiful, brilliant, stunt-woman and multi-millionaire – why wasn’t I this?). Nothing I could do was “good enough” for me for years, because I couldn’t meet my own hypercritical standards.
Learning the Gift of Self-love, As We Are
I know so many women who believe that if they change something about themselves – lose those stubborn last 10 pounds, or get a facelift, or earn more money, or be a “better” wife, sister, daughter – that they will earn the right to love, and earn the right to be happy. The problem is that we don’t have to earn love – we are born worthy of love – and we don’t have to earn the right to be happy.
You can choose to be happy, right now, no matter how many personal goals you may have to make shifts in your life. You can decide that loving yourself and choosing joy is more important than criticizing yourself for not being perfect, because by the way you are human like the rest of us.
You can decide right now to let more love pour into your life, and to choose to love yourself no matter what, even when you feel that you could be “doing more” or “doing better.”
As they say, “If you knew better, you would do better.” Mostly of us are truly doing the best we can, day by day, to navigate the challenges on the journey of life.
How to Create the Gift of Self-Love!
It seems like loving ourselves should be simple, and easy to do. For so many women, it isn’t.
We’re conditioned to put everyone else first. We’re conditioned to be on a track of constant self-improvement, which many of us subliminally interpret to mean we are not good enough as we are, right now.
I find it sadly rare to find women, at any age, who truly love and embrace themselves, as they are, and who have consistently high self-esteem. Most of us go through ups and downs, and periods of self-doubt, and periods of jealousy of others who seem to have what we don’t, and anger at ourselves for however it is that we feel we let ourselves or others down.
In fact, I don’t know if I can think of a single woman I know who hasn’t been through these phases at various points in her life. The trick is to evolve into a woman who loves herself enough to accept her own imperfections, and to see life as a joyful journey vs. a certain destination.
Until we can do that, we are doomed to believe we are “not enough” and to act in ways that tend to limit our own ability to receive blessings. Trust me when I say that blessings and abundance and love want to flow into your life, but they can’t if you are consistently blocking them out of a lack of feelings of self-worth.
If you underestimate your own value, you teach others to treat you as less too. My hope and prayer and wish is to help as many women and girls as possible to shift from this place of self-loathing, which I too have inhabited at times, to a daily practice of unconditional love for ourselves.
If we can give ourselves as much love as we would shower upon a baby, or a partner with whom we are deeply in love, or a best friend, or a hero or mentor figure, then we’re off to a good start.
Above and beyond that, I say shower even more love upon yourself, because after all you are the only one who will be your one true companion for life, always. You deserve love as much as anyone else in your life deserves love, and when you love yourself first, you have more love to give to everyone.
The Awesome Goddess Posse
That’s why I created the Awesome Goddess Posse. I wanted to activate a group of women to support each other in living our goals, and to consistently be there to cheer each other on.
It’s group coaching program for women in which we will each concentrate on at least one major personal goal and one “world-changing” goal (a way of giving back, and discovering our purpose) over the course of 12 weeks. In 12 weeks, you can see positive shifts happening in your life, and that is my intention.
I want these women to practice more self-care and self-love, and to lean on the “Sisterhood” as they work to achieve their goals. I’ll be offering the group a complimentary copy of my e-book, The Self-Love Diet, because I believe all true success begins with loving ourselves.
I am offering an Earlybird Rate through Valentine’s Day so women can give themselves or sisters or friends or moms the gift of loving themselves more, and living their dreams. That is what this community at 8womendream is all about, and I’m so grateful to be a part of it.
Make sure you give yourself a Valentine’s Day gift, whether you are single, dating, married or none of the above. All love begins with self-love.
Here’s to loving ourselves more and making the most of all of our days.
Lisa Powell Graham