Learn to love yourself and watch how that flows to other aspects of your life.
Learn to love yourself and watch how that flows to other aspects of your life. ArthurHidden

Learn how to love yourself

VALENTINE'S Day is fast approaching, in case you need a reminder and have been oblivious to the abundance of cards, gifts and chocolate love hearts at this time of year.

Just like other nominated days, some choose to ignore the whole thing and others like to take part. It's a personal choice, but each year I wonder why we need to have a specific day to declare our love and appreciation for that someone special.

Shouldn't we do that on a regular basis, or is it because the message isn't getting through and we need prompting? Can't we just take it for granted that our partner, spouse, significant other already loves us and doesn't need to be told? Apparently not - but why is that?

A book, The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman may help. He has a theory that when it comes to love and feeling loved we're not all on the same page. For those who haven't read it, he introduces five ways that connect people to feeling loved. They are words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, gifts and quality time.

As you might imagine, if your partner appreciates hugs and having things done for them, sending them love poems and showering them with gifts may not work so well. If you've done something similar and were underwhelmed by the response or if you're simply feeling at odds in the love department you might like to read the book or visit the website.

Having said that, there may be something else to consider that comes up with many of our clients, which is that we often make sure others are feeling loved by doing one or several of the suggestions mentioned. But we rarely do it for ourselves, often because we feel it is somehow selfish.

So here is my suggestion for Valentine's Day, particularly if you are not in a relationship at the moment. How about you identify which of the five languages you connect to; there may be more than one or you can place them in order of importance, whichever you prefer, and then take action.

Buy yourself a gift, make a list of things that others say they love about you, treat yourself to a massage or just take time out to do something purely for you and for the joy of it.

Perhaps you find it easy to love and be kind to others and yet you are critical and unloving of yourself. Or maybe you rely on others to make you feel lovable at times. Well, it needs to come from within. Start with small acts of love and appreciation for yourself and take time to fully experience them. When you start to accept and love yourself that love also flows out to others.

Rowena Hardy is a facilitator, performance coach and partner of Minds Aligned: www.mindsaligned.com.au



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