I found something powerful recently. Something that had never occurred to me before. Something so important and obvious and yet out of my grasp for so long I thought I'd never find it. Never feel it.
I found the love of my life: Me.
"Well, no d'uh," you're probably thinking, "how could you not?"
But you guys...I didn't!
I thought I did. On paper it made sense. I knew it was important and I almost had myself convinced that I did. I said lovely platitudes to myself. I smiled at myself in the mirror and said, "Hey lady, you're pretty cute! You are super smart and great at what you do. You are a fantastic speaker and trainer and you are so good at connecting with people and showing them their brilliance, blah blah blah blah..."
Notice what I wasn't saying though...
You see, I was great at listing my characteristics and my skills. I was great at defending my right to be here by listing my value to other people or my contribution to the world. I was great and valuing my worth based on what I did for others or on how others felt around me.
Do you know what I wasn't great at?
I was reeeeally good at judging myself though. I was great at laying in bed all night listing the reasons why I was a terrible person. I was great at tallying up all the mistakes I've ever made and all the reasons I came up short and was undeserving of being loved. I was really good at building walls around my heart and not letting others in. I was a great listener, empathizer, sounding board, and voice of reason.
But I SUCKED at being vulnerable, at letting others in. At letting others see me.
Because I couldn't even see myself.
Then something happened. Well, a whole series of things happened over the past few years. I started to see me. I started to find my voice and unwrap my worth. I started to remove toxic and abusive elements and mainline loving people, resources, and activities straight to my heart.
I started to open up to the idea of being OK with me.
I started to figure out that my value and worth didn't come from what I produced. My value didn't reside in how others felt around me. My worth wasn't tied to what I did for others.
So, maybe I could ease up on the pressure I was putting on myself to think of and do for others and start turning some of that attention and effort inwards. Maybe I could make how I felt around me a priority. Perhaps I could consider what I want and need before anyone else.
So I started to put me first.
Small things at first, like eating breakfast every morning and making my mornings about me (no meetings before 11:00 am). Afternoon Yoga, and play dates with my girlfriends. Good coffee and lovely music. Silent walks and space to write. I started to value my time with me and to nurture my relationship with myself.
Small, simple expressions of self-care led to big changes.
I began craving more self-care rituals. For example, my morning ritual of waking up early for 10 minutes of meditation followed by coffee, breakfast and planning out my day is precious to me. I've started to not only make space in my day for me, I've started to fill that space doing activities that matter to me. Time spent enriching my health, relationships, business, creativity and play.
I was beginning to value my life.
And then one lovely Sunday morning, while listening to music and reflecting on a recent meditation and Gabby B workshop (Gabby Bernstein's my homegirl), I was sitting at my desk watching the snow fall peacefully outside and it occurred to me...
Holy smokers...I love me!
Like, guys...I reeeally love me. I love me so much.
I'm talking heart fluttering, skin tingling, hair standing up, can't stop smiling, love.
How had I never loved me before? This feels wonderful. My heart feels so full.
I freaking love me!
I freaking love me so freaking much!
It feels like reaching into the back of my closet and pulling out a soft, warm, beautiful cloak made just for me. As I wrap it around me it feels so familiar. A cloak that had been there all along, waiting for me to shed the heavy, smelly, ugly cloaks I'd been trying to make my own all my life. "Where have you been all my life?"
And guys...I'm rocking this beautiful cloak. I'm owning this self-love. I've fallen in love with me and it's wonderful.
And so, this Valentine's Day as I open up and share the love of my life with you, I hope you too are feeling some heart fluttering, skin tingling, hair raising, great-big-dopey-grin smiling love for yourself.
Happy Valentine's Day!