Friday, 14 February 2014

Happy Self-Love Day (aka Valentine's Day)

So, here we are. Valentine's Day. What a funny old day it is. If you're single, you feel odd and left out. If you're in a relationship, it really doesn't make sense to save up all your expression of love for just one day anyway. If you've just broken up with somebody, it feels really painful. 

It really is a strange tradition when so many people end up feeling lonely and isolated just because Hallmark want to sell us more cards. And because we have collectively agreed to make romantic love more of a focus than a commitment to loving everybody and being loving people.

What a funny old day.

So, I have decided to make Valentine's Day Self-Love day. And I am going to focus on that. Because when I start with myself, I can love others more deeply, I can be more responsive, I can be more patient and spacious for those I love. 

I was thinking about this today, when Christopher, in his 3-year-old innocence, came to me. He needed some attention so he asked me to play a game where he was a tiny baby and he wanted me to sit with him and I had to comment on everything he did. 'Now mummy, you say, oh what a lovely baby, look at the way he's holding that toy.' Such sweet instructions and, of course, I followed them. He is so creative with his play and most of the time he happily makes up games and potters around, so when he comes to me with a request like this, I take notice and give him my full attention as best I can. 

And I realised that this is such a powerful act of including yourself: to ask for what you need. Of course, at 3 years old, you feel something and you act on it. No big complication. Need gets met, you feel complete and that's it. 

But as we get older it gets so much more complex. I notice in myself, for example, that, rather than just saying or acknowledging that I need something, I tend to get grumpy and difficult and scratchy. I am beginning to recognise the signals before I go too far down that road but it is a pattern I have to understand and I try to be gentle with myself when I get this way. 

What if, today, we made a deeper commitment to loving and caring for ourselves? To asking for what we need, or even just admitting that we need things? 

Let's see how it feels to really include ourselves, to feel deserving of the nurturing and care we provide for others. Let's make it Self-love day so that we can spread the love and be a loving presence to those around us and beyond. 

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