Becoming Your Own Valentine
I remember my mother telling me, "You can't love anyone else until you love yourself". Reading that you'd think my mother was my first teacher when it came to how to live a love-filled life. Sadly, she was not. Once in a while she would verbalize great profundities, but in general, she was one person I feared the most and certainly did not learn how to love from her.
In my family I used the challenges my parents presented to me to create what I perceived as freedom, joy, and trying to no longer suffer or suffer much less than how I grew up in my family of origin.
I think that's why I chose the field of Health and Wellness at such a young age. Perhaps I knew that if I was to have any hope of succeeding in life as I knew it, it was to do the opposite of what my parents taught.
Luckily, in my studies as a Health and Science Teacher, I was required by the state curriculum to "learn what healthy is" and in that I learned about the value of communication and mental health.
That was over 35 years ago and my take on it now is a bit different but the premise is still what my mother said to me: "love yourself first".
I am seeing much more about self-care in mainstream media and less about what true love, primarily self-love is. My definition of self love is holding yourself in the highest regard no matter what you have thought, said, or may have done. This is what unconditional love is.
If this sounds alien to you, think of it this way. Pretend you were a brand new baby who just came into the world through a (healthy) family who took the utmost care of you and your needs. What would they say to you? How would it sound? How would they behave so your needs are met? I bet it would sound something like this....
" Oooooh, look how perfect you are! I am so glad that you're here!
I will make sure that you have everything you need. You are so special to me and you are so beautiful! How blessed I am to have you in my life !
I love you so much !!"
All the while holding you, speaking softly with a smile, and gazing into your eyes.
Now, what if I told you to go stand in front of a mirror, and say that to yourself? Kind of weird, right? Then, what if I told you to say it while, hang on... gazing into your own eyes?!
This has not always been easy for me. When I was first taught "mirror work" it felt extremely uncomfortable and I thought it was even hoaky. The only thing I wanted to do was shut the light off and walk away. But I kept reading and hearing how good it was for my mental health so I began forcing myself and like everything else that's good for me, it became easier.
Then I noticed that I was putting up more mirrors so I could gaze at my reflection while walking by and cheer myself on as I moved throughout the day.
During my practice of mirror work, I began noticing the little things that I would concern myself with like wrinkles on my face and body no longer seemed like such a big idea. How's that for progress!
Then, as I became more accustomed to speaking to myself in the mirror, I tried gazing directly into my pupils and I noticed something powerful happening; I lost all sensation of what was going on around me and I began hearing (or reading my own energy) myself on a very deep level. It seems that, for me, there is ageless wisdom beyond those pupils. This gave me a sense of power and clarity that was new to me because it was my way of becoming truthfully acquainted with me. It was me being intimate with me.
Wow. Simple but not so easy.
I challenge you to try it. At first you don't even have to say anything, just look into your own eyes. As resistance comes up be aware of it and perhaps ask yourself why you're resisting it. Take a break from it and then go back and try it again.
Not only will it positively affect your mental health but studies show that it will also help heal your physical heart.
Let me know how you do with becoming your own valentine!