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February. The month that brings up a lot for some of us around love. With the commercial holiday of Valentine's Day, and the marketing messages around gifting your special someone with chocolate hearts and romantic cards, we can all too easily focus our attention and love outwardly. If we are in a relationship, we get to ride the collective enthusiasm around partnership. If we are single, the day can feel like a bitter reminder. What we might be missing in all of this is the simple truth that each one of us does not need anyone else to experience love. In fact, if we are seeking love and connection outwardly but have not explored grounding it inwardly, our seeking will lead us to dissatisfaction over and over again.
Why? Let's think of a glass. If the glass is full of water, we can pour it out and share the love with whomever we choose. If the glass is empty, meaning we have not cultivated love inside and for our own being, we will try and try to find water in the other person, only to discover that it will never quench our thirst.
A big misunderstanding in our modern perception of relationships, which formed in the pages of fairy tales and the dreams of happily ever after, is that a partner is going to complete us. That there will be a man or a woman that comes into our lives and fills in what is missing. This perception misses the truth that each of us are whole and complete exactly as we are. We are born whole and complete. We are born not "missing" anything. Somewhere along the way we learn, from the wounds of our primary caregivers, that we are lacking, not enough, there is something innately wrong with us, or any other misunderstanding that challenges the knowing of our wholeness.
This is why in order to have balanced and happy relationships outwardly, we must be able to cherish ourselves as well. Love the quirks, the foibles, the imperfections that make us who we are. We can see ourselves as whole and a work in progress at the same time. We can love ourselves while learning to love ourselves. We can know that we are here to learn, and part of that learning is to love who we are and embrace this life we've been given.
During this month, let us dedicate to ourselves. Whether we are in a relationship or not, let's go inward to the spaces that have been yearning to be cherished. We can start right where we are. This moment, in this body. With the circumstances of our life exactly as it is, we can choose to place a hand on our heart and offer ourselves the love we deserve. The love that is our birthright as humans.
You do not need anyone else to complete you, and in fact no one ever can. That would be like pouring water into an already full cup. It's never actually empty, we just have to remember how powerful we are, how deserving and worthy of love we are, and witness the outpouring that flows from the center of the heart.
RITUAL :: Take yourself on a date
Amidst a pandemic the places one can go and the experiences to be had may be limited, but the power of spending quality time with yourself is not diminished. It is easy to get caught up in work and external relationships, as they offer us so much, yet showing up for our self-care contributes to our happiness and success.
This is the quiet work that nobody else sees, and it is only for you. This month, choose a day and time that is set aside for you to have a date with you. Perhaps you go out into nature, or maybe its' a candle lit meal you cook for yourself. Maybe you take yourself to a new neighborhood or part of town and walk around. Maybe its music and a solo dance that is your romance of choice. What would light you up?
You cannot do this ritual wrong. The importance lies in you being with you. No one else. As you go on your date with you, be sure to give yourself compliments, acknowledge what is going well, show gratitude for the you that is alive right now.
Bonus: buy yourself flowers before the date begins.