Sarah is a certified Hatha, Vinyasa, & Kundalini yoga teacher. She is an artist who believes in the importance of living a creative life.
How to Nurture the Relationship With Yourself
Red roses, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, and a table set for two are just some of the visuals that come to mind when it comes to Valentine's Day. Each of us has our own relationship with this particular holiday. For some, it is a sweet opportunity to show affection to our significant other. For others, it is a trivial annoyance, best gotten over with and forgotten. As with many other holidays, Valentine's Day has become over-commercialized—and it can leave a bitter taste in one's mouth no matter your relationship status. And that's what this holiday truly is about: relationships.
Love Yourself First
First and foremost, however, the most important relationship you will ever have is your relationship with yourself. Many of us seek love and affection outside of ourselves, which may work temporarily, but long-lasting love comes from within. This is good news because it means you can stop searching "out there" and start discovering and enjoying who you are, just as you are. Another bit of good news, it can be truly thrilling when you embark on a love affair with yourself!
Below are a few ideas and practices that will assist you in nurturing that inner relationship.
Dress Up for Yourself
Putting a little time and attention into dressing yourself for the day is excellent for self-love and appreciation. Begin by cleansing yourself with your regular shower or washing routine. Take your time, and appreciate your body. You may choose to mentally or out loud speak to your body words of love and kindness, such as "I love you body, I thank you body, I respect you body." Practices like this can help you develop a healthy relationship with your body.
Choose to wear your favorite undergarments, whether that means something super comfortable or beautiful and sexy. Today, you are the special occasion that you have been waiting for. Select a garment from your closet that you love to wear because of how it makes you feel. If you have a special set of earrings, a watch, or another accessory that you would typically reserve for a special occasion, adorn yourself with them today.
Lastly, take a moment to appreciate yourself. Maybe smile and wink at your reflection in the mirror and say, "Hello, Beautiful!" See if you can carry the feeling of an inner smile with you throughout your day.
Make a Meal for One
Today, choose to make one of your meals for yourself. Allow yourself plenty of time to prepare and eat so that you may feel unhurried and relaxed. If mornings are already a time crunch for you, lunch or dinner will be a better option. Consider the foods you love to eat that nourish the body and you are comfortable preparing. Even a simple dish of eggs and toast, mindfully prepared, can be a lovely experience.
Set the Mood
Take a moment to set a place setting just for you. Clear a space at a table; any paperwork or bills scattered around can be removed for the time being. Place a candle by your place setting.
When preparing your meal, move a little slower than usual and be aware of the foods' different colors, textures, and scents. You may choose to be in a pleasant silence or listen to soft, uplifting music.
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Once ready, sit down and light the candle. Breathe in and out fully a few times as you appreciate what you have created, and perhaps say a prayer or bless the food before you. Eating mindfully without any distractions can be a wonderful way to be with yourself.
Take Yourself Out on a Date
Sometimes going out alone can feel intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. Taking yourself out on a date is a wonderful way to get to know yourself. First, consider what you enjoy doing and the places you love to visit.
This in itself can be a lovely exploration of what makes you happy, something that we don't always make time for or think about. You don't necessarily have to go out to fancy dinner; consider all the ways that new couples get to know each other and apply this to yourself.
Perhaps a stroll in a dog park followed by ice cream or a midnight showing of a movie you have wanted to see. What local events are happening in your area? Attending a music recital or a dance could be an excellent way to connect with yourself as you observe how others express themselves.
Pay attention to what brings you the most excitement and joy, and go towards those things. This excitement is a key to understanding yourself and unlocking an even deeper level of connection with your true self.
Write a Love Letter to Yourself
Writing is an excellent way to connect with yourself. It is a safe practice that allows you to explore your inner thoughts and feelings. Writing a letter to yourself can be a very sweet and inviting way to nurture your inner self.
Reflect on all the qualities you love about yourself. If you have any trouble with this, consider perhaps everything you would love to hear someone else says to you. Try to be specific when possible. What is it that you admire about yourself? Was there a time that you preserved through a difficult time and really showed your courage? Do you love your smile, crooked teeth, and all?
Allow your thoughts to flow, and write without judgment. You may choose to seal the letter in an envelope and reread it in the future or at any time that you need a little self-love.
Love Yourself First!
As you embark on the journey of getting to know yourself, notice how you begin to change and feel. You may even see that the more you practice loving yourself, your relationships with others will grow along the way.
When you can dip into that deep well of love inside yourself, you don't need others to give it to you. This gives you the freedom to be yourself, whole, and compete just as you are.
It also allows the other people in your life to be themselves. Your relationships will deepen, for we can only meet another person as deeply as we meet ourselves first.