love yourselfLove your SELF

As we are approaching Valentine’s Day I started thinking about how many expectations and projections there can be at this time of year around love, finding (and keeping) your “soul mate”, etc.

What kept occurring to me was that we are so often externally focused around our view of love – what about the importance of loving yourself?

When we have this strong external focus we can forget to prioritise ourselves, and we can also forget that sometimes the very best thing we can do for ourselves AND our relationships with others is to BE the best versions of ourselves that we can be!

So, that being said, from a practical point of view, how do we go about loving ourselves?

I remember asking my spiritual teacher Swami Durgananda about this many years ago, after she had talked about how important it was to love yourself.  I told her that I wasn’t even sure that I knew what love was, as I didn’t feel I had really ever been on the receiving end of it.  And she gave me some of the best advice I have ever received – she told me to start by liking myself.

So I started a list of the things I liked about myself.  At first it was short.  But it grew over time.

And as my list grew, my appreciation of myself grew.

And as my appreciation of myself grew, I realised what an interesting person I was, how special, how unique…..

And a feeling of love for myself started to bubble up naturally!

The list has grown very long over the years and my self love has grown a lot too.  It has also changed over the years as I have changed.

The key to this practice is to do it from a place of appreciation, not judgement.

You don’t even have to do it as project – you could just set an intention to write down things as they occur to you.

Try it – you will be surprised and pleased.

 

Karen Howard is a Teacher of Yoga and Meditation, an Energetic Body Worker and a Coach.  You can contact her via email.