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Practicing Self-Love

You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anyone.
— Maya Angelou

Today is Valentine's Day, a day that may bring up difficulties for many of us as we explore the complexity of love. Often times we may focus on love in relationships, yet how often do we examine our relationship with ourselves, with love, tenderness, and commitment? After all, the relationship with ourselves is the longest relationship we will ever have. Self-love is crucial for surviving and thriving, especially when many aspects of society can focus on what’s wrong or enforcing that we are not enough.

Due to societal pressures and experiences of oppression, cultivating self-love can be difficult. We may have barriers to loving ourselves due to sexual trauma, reinforcements of negativity perhaps shared by our families, as well as difficulties we may feel with worthiness. Self-love takes tenderness and a gentle approach that is not linear. It’s a relationship with yourself, and like any good relationship, it has to be consensually explored, respectfully reworked, compassionately shifted, and lovingly embraced despite all of the challenges.

This year, we are inviting all of us to focus on self-love as an act of rebellion and an act of service to ourselves--to honor your relationship with yourself and explore what it feels to be loving to YOU! As a team, we identified 14 things that we do to practice self-love. We invite you to be a better friend to you because you are worthy of a loving relationship.

  1. I place my hand on my heart to soothe myself. It’s a way to acknowledge my feelings and to give myself self-compassion.

  2. I think about how I would stand up for a partner or a friend, and give myself the same self-love, affirmation, and validation.

  3. I step out of my comfort zone and surround myself by things that remind me of moments of courage.

  4. I recognize what is not meant for me, let it go, and be mindful of resentment in relationships.

  5. Self-love looks like cooking and nurturing my body.

  6. I accept when I am not okay and learn how to navigate supporting myself in those moments of shame.

  7. I let go of the idea that I can please everyone. I learn to be comfortable with disappointment.

  8. I allow myself to cry when I need to cry.

  9. I have learned that it is okay to let people down and say no, as a way of honoring my needs and pursuit of balance.

  10. I accept impermanence. A constant state of happiness is unrealistic. We are going to experience all emotions, and all are a part of being fully alive.

  11. I recognize my fear and how that has limited my life. I have learned to increase my tolerance to see beauty and take risks to follow my dreams.

  12. I take myself on a creative, self-love date once a month. This day is dedicated to me.

  13. I give myself permission to pause and feel what I am feeling, celebrate an accomplishment, or engage in a supportive relationship.

  14. I engage in non-judgmental creativity using dance, finger paints, and humor to honor my inner child and my playfulness.