Happy Self Love Day!

Happy Self Love DayI know, I know – it’s Valentine’s Day, and lurve is all around. So it’s not surprising that The Independent ran this story on office romances a couple of days ago.
Which got me thinking about workplace romances.  And I was all set to write about workplace romances (and I will, in another blog, at another time).

But then something else came up yesterday that got me thinking about love in general, and more specifically about how much love we allow ourselves.

Most people I know (and yes, there are exceptions, but not many) are kind, and nurturing, and forgiving and loving towards their family, their loved ones, their friends, their pets, even their colleagues.  So why are we all so damn awful to ourselves?  Why do we rarely show ourselves the kind of love we give out so freely to everyone else?  Do we think there is only a finite amount, and we’re being selfless?  Do we just feel that we don’t deserve love for ourself?  Are we holding out to enjoy it when we’re fitter, or slimmer, or wiser or have more time?

I don’t know.  I don’t know what your reasons might be.  I can only share my own minor epiphany, in the hope that it will help you and me make better choices in the future.

I was that person, the one that gave out love, but couldn’t really receive it.  For a start, it took me a long time to realise that love comes in a multitude of ways – a compliment, a hug, an offer of help, a shoulder to cry on, the lending of a book, the cooking of a meal, sharing a link to something that’ll make you smile,a random text to ask if you’re alright.  I was great at offering help, at giving compliments, and hugs.  I was terrible at receiving any of those things.   Mostly because I didn’t feel good enough or worthy enough.  If someone saw something good in me, I’d feel embarrassed and shy away from whatever lovely thing was on offer.

Because I was seeing ‘me’ with my extra strength fault-finding eyes.  I wasn’t seeing the ‘me’ my friends and family were seeing.  I wasn’t seeing the funny me, the happy me, the great me.  I was only ever seeing the miserable, insecure, just-not-good-enough me.  And then berating myself for being that way.  Not a great way to live, even though I think we all do it to a greater or lesser degree.

There wasn’t one huge moment of thundering clarity that made me change.  Much as I might wish it to be, my life is not quite Hollywood Blockbuster level yet.  So the changes were small to begin with – I read somewhere that it’s more gracious to say ‘Thank You’ when someone compliments you, rather than batting it away.  I read a few self-development books, went on some courses, grew a lot older and a little wiser.  And I got stuck.  So stuck that I had to ask for help.  And when that help came, I had to accept it, because I had no other choice.

I’m still not there, but I’m much further along the self-acceptance and self-love road. It means sometimes putting myself at the front of the queue of demands, and it means not just accepting, but asking for help from family and friends when I need it. I had no idea at the time that accepting help from the people who wanted to help me was also a way of accepting love.  Or that asking for help might be a form of self-love.  I know that now, and although it still doesn’t come easily, it happens more often than it used to. It means allowing myself to be a little bit more vulnerable, but paradoxically, that makes me feel stronger too.

So today let yourself be loved, and know that you deserve it all and more.

Happy self-love day!




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