Several years ago I painted these words on a sign. I thought it would be an instant success. because these words are so important. And because everyone needs to know this. And live this. And guess what? I sold 1. Just one. I was shocked. And surprised. And a little sad. So I did what I do when things flop. I removed it from the shop. And honestly, I forgot about it.
Fast forward to this morning. I was at the gym at my 5:00 am class. I was half asleep, wishing I had slept in instead of getting up and going to the gym. It was early; so early. It was Friday. And there were people there. I wasn't feeling people-y yet. Then i heard it. I heard our awesome coach say "Today, in honor of Valentine's Day, we were going to love ourselves."
I was immediately awake. She got it. She was explaining the message that I had painted all those years ago. She was pushing us to love ourselves. To spend the next hour doing something that was going to make us stronger. She was pushing us outside our comfort zone. She was encouraging us to make ourselves better. To do something that was going to give us energy. To make us believe that we are able. Then, after the hour was over, she was going to send us on our way. Send us home. We would have the strength to face the day. We would have the extra love in us that we would need. We could then pour our love out and show our people how much we love them.
You see, first you have to love yourself. Really love yourself. Then, and only then, are you ready to love others. To be vulnerable and to give yourself and to love others. And then the magic happens. Then your heart is ready to receive love. What you put out in the world will be returned to you. It's true. Sometimes it's hard. And sometimes it's scary. But when you make yourself vulnerable; when you have the courage to expose your heart; then your heart is truly open and ready to receive love.
Then, just like the gym, we have to start over each day. Repeat the steps. We have to love ourselves. Again. And give ourselves the energy and strength we need to give ourselves to others. Again. And we have to do all this so that our love can be returned to us. Again.
Maybe you are a new bride, pouring your heart into your new husband. Maybe you are a new mom, pouring your heart into your little baby. Maybe you are a seasoned mom, pouring your heart into your toddlers, tweens or teens. Maybe you are a mom worrying about your kids who have left the nest. Maybe you are a daughter caring for an aging or sick parent. Maybe you are working two jobs, or working full time and going to school. Whatever you are doing, hear this. Really hear this. Make sure you are making time for yourself. Maybe it's the gym. Maybe it's getting up a few minutes early to have a cup of coffee and sit in the quiet before the rest of your house is up. Maybe it's taking a few minutes to meditate or pray. Maybe it's taking deep breathes in the closet while you are getting ready. Maybe it's taking a walk. Maybe it's listening to your favorite song on repeat. Maybe it's listening to your favorite podcast on the way to work.
Whatever it looks like for you, just make sure you make that time for yourself. That you take that time for yourself. Schedule it if you have to. Set an alarm. Create a reminder. Start small. You will love yourself for it. And remember, loving yourself is the key to being able to love others and to having that love returned to you. You deserve it. So do it. This Valentine's Day, give yourself a Valentine! Make sure you are loving yourself first! It truly is the key to really loving others.