Dark sign with neon word love on it

February is (supposedly) the month for love and passion

Traditionally, February tends to be the month that love is referred to the most. It’s the month when we are bombarded with advertisement about Valentine’s Day, and we should all be feeling the warmth of the glow from all those red love hearts. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love romance and gift giving and all the rest Valentine’s Day brings with it, but love should begin with ourselves, and not a Saint, or a red rose, or whatever else Valentine’s Day offers us.

How can we possibly love others if we don’t love ourselves? I’ve had quite a few conversations lately where I am surprised by the amount of belittling people are doing to themselves. I’ve also really noticed the default response now when you ask people how they are: “I’m so busy.” I do admit, I used to be really guilty of this, because it was exactly how my life was. So ridiculously and unmanageably busy that when I did stop, I had zero energy for all other good things in my life.

I suppose age, and the hard knocks in life have shown me that it is important to love ourselves more than anything or anyone else. WHAT?!! That’s so selfish! Well yes and no. Yes, it seems selfish on the surface, as we are conditioned to not talk about ourselves that way, conditioned to show our other half and offspring that they matter more than your life itself. And I fully understand – it’s always been my mantra too. But, if we don’t put ourselves first, and love ourselves by nurturing ourselves, feeding our bodies well, taking the time and space to reset and reconnect, then we are going to be giving from an ‘empty cup’.

Let’s face it, would you want an exhausted nurse caring for your child in hospital, or an exhausted surgeon operating on your partner? Would you want an exhausted bus driver driving the school bus your child caught a lift in? So why are you okay with your children, your partner, your parents or your friends being looked after by someone who is so exhausted, they are not bringing their best self to those relationships?

Now I’m not suggesting that you go around telling the world that only you matter and that you don’t love anyone else as much as you love yourself (unless of course you want to)! But I am provoking you to rethink how you value yourself and what you bring to others when you are more rested and refreshed.

In November, I wrote a blog called ‘Say No to People Pleasing and Embrace your True Freedom’ which I suggest you read or revisit, as there  I share a powerful tool to help you consider where in your life you need to say “No”.

In this blog let’s look at self-love differently. Let’s look at all of the things you like to do that feeds your soul. With my clients I would start by asking them “If you could do anything you liked that would make you feel good about yourself and help press your reset button, what would you do?” Now that seems like a reasonably simple question, but then my clients then start to tell me all of the reasons why their list of things can’t happen. You see, there usually is a fixed mindset creeping into why we can’t find the time for ourselves.

A fixed mindset stops us from seeing beyond our boundaries that we have set for ourselves. It only becomes exacerbated when other things keep getting added to our daily loads, such as additional tasks from our managers, or increased requests for taxi of mum. And every time something gets added to our ‘busy-ness’ we then reinforce the fixed mindset mantra of ‘I’m so busy”.

Once we have our list of ideas – that ideal list of things we could do – then we can use a tool called the Be/Do/Have model. This model is a very simple, but very powerful tool and can be used really well to identify what we need to do to afford ourselves the time and space to put ourselves first and show ourselves some nurturing love.

 

I like to start with the ‘have’ section and work backwards. ‘Have’ is what we want to have, so it’s the end game. Personally, I always like to plan backwards, so if we start there, we also know where we are going. When my clients is clear on that, we then begin to look at how they might need to ‘be’ as a person. This can bring so many separate insight into how their character needs to be, going forward, to be able to have what they want as far as more time and the opportunity to love themselves more. After that we move on to the ‘do’ section, and this is really about what my client needs to actually do to make the change. What actions they will take, what responses they will give (remembering the ‘Power of No’) and give full consideration to all of those actions. I like to also dig a bit deeper with a looks like, sounds like and feels like approach to those actions so that we are very clear on what to expect, how that might feel for my clients and how they possibly might visualise these circumstances so they can embody the actions in advance.

I really love this tool, it’s so simple yet, so effective.

What’s most important is that you do recognise that you must love yourself the most to be able to give to others first. I’d encourage you to start saying some affirmations, such as:

  • I am the most important person in my life. I love myself the most so I can fully give to others.
  • I dedicate time and space to myself to be the best version of me.
  • I am truly amazing, and I easily find time to feed my soul and nurture myself.
  • I love myself so much.

I’d also encourage you to journal on those affirmations, especially if you find those statements a bit icky. Why is it they trigger you? Why are you reluctant to feel this way about yourself? Is what you have been telling yourself previously the truth or a conditioned version of the truth? Journalling will help you unpick your thoughts and opinions and help you explore them a little further.

If you do any of these exercises at home yourself, I’d be really keen to hear how you have got on with them. Please do contact me and let me know. Contact form in footer.

If you’d like a bit of support finding your way to creating a bit of space in your life, I can hold your hand and guide you through. Please do use either the contact form, book a free call, or my ‘work with me’ form and I will be in touch for a chat.

Wishing you lots and lots of love and happiness in February and all of the months ahead. Go forth and love yourself!

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