How Journaling Made Me Love More Today
My youngest brother is born on Valentine's Day. When he was around 4 years old, he heard the story of Cupid and embraced the role of the naked baby with wings shooting arrows in the shape of hearts.
Before dinners, he would go to each of us at the dinner table and hug each one of us. My other brother would roll his eyes at him thinking it was a ploy to gather attention away from my dad and stepmom.
But it wasn't.
In fact, my youngest Kellan said that he was Cupid and wanted to make sure everyone felt loved. Those moments at the table years ago made me think about the importance of self-love.
With today being Valentine's Day, the majority of us see it as a commercial gutting of our wallets. Everything is marked up. Dinner is overpriced.
Some of us hope that we don't have to spend it alone even though we tell our friends that we don't need anybody to celebrate with.
However you see today, love is a practice and whether you celebrate it with someone or not, remember to practice the love of yourself.
Loving our imperfections and characteristics is challenging. We're wired to take care of others, some of them being strangers that we do not know. And the body of work that comes with being of service to others is incredibly beneficial but at times, putting others before ourselves can do damage to our psyche, to our relationships and ability to pursue our wants and dreams.
If we want to create long-lasting and sustainable happiness, we have to focus our attention inward and work to love ourselves before we can love others. We have to look at our desires and experiences for us to cherish the lessons we learned from them.
A great way to start with the practice of self-love is journaling. I found the practice years ago when I was struggling with my identity. I began by asking myself what one thing I liked about myself each day was. I focused each entry on that, and the next day I would focus on a new trait. The trait didn't have to be good or bad. That didn't matter.
What mattered was that I would examine each thing with intent to cherish it.
If it were negative, I would accept that as part of myself with the intention to reduce its impact on myself or others.
I use to have a short temper. I'd get set off or pissed at the littlest of things. My temper ruined some friendships and relationships. It also created a lot of discourse as I often beat myself up when something wasn't an immediate success.
When I dug into my journaling, I realized that aspects of my childhood and my perception of self-worth fueled a lot of my temper.
I decided that instead of beating myself or lashing out, I would practice acceptance that not everything was going to go the way I planned and as long as I put my best effort forward, I should be happy. I also decided that with my friends and relationships that acceptance is a key and critical role and if I did not accept myself, I could not accept my friends and relationships for how they were.
I had to practice love of myself so I could love others.
So today, whether you are celebrating your relationship or love in general, take some time to practice loving yourself. It is not easy and it takes time but today is a great day to start. Tell others you love them. Tell that special someone you love them.
But don’t forget to tell yourself you love you as well.