Valentine’s day: a day so many of us go out of our way to abundantly acknowledge, celebrate, and demonstrate love for the people in our lives.
But has it occurred to you to include yourself in that lovefest? Are you lovin’ on yourself today?
Did you appreciate your body and all it does? Did you show love to your body — your one and only permanent home — with the same care you show for the physical home you live in?
But let me tell you, until recently, genuinely and unconditionally loving myself and my body was not my experience. You see, I don’t look like most women in our society. I don’t fit our cultural definition of a beautiful woman.
I am bald.
I have no eyelashes; I have no eyebrows.
I have lived with alopecia areata for 37 years, an autoimmune disease that causes sufferers to lose their hair. I have worn a wig for the last 12 of those years. Seeing my own true beauty has been difficult.
In 2013 this changed. I began asking myself, “What does it really mean to love someone? And what does it mean to love myself? How might that look in the day-to-day living of my life?”
I’ve really taken the phrase “love the one you’re with” deep into my heart and soul.
I started practicing gratitude and appreciation everyday. I started truly looking at myself, allowing myself to see the preciousness of my body. I began looking at my photo, the one you see of me here, every day.
I now truly listen to my needs and desires in a way I never did before, and I honor those needs.
For the first time ever, I have the freedom to show myself to the masses without my ‘do’ — and I can genuinely say I love me.
But this didn’t happen overnight. Just like in any relationship, trust, appreciation, commitment, and unconditional love blossom over time.
Would we ever in a million years say to another human being the critical, self-deprecating, belittling, and degrading things we often say to ourselves?
I started treating myself the way I treat others. I started looking for things to appreciate about myself, about my body and all of the incredible functions it performs every minute of every day. I now celebrate my own beauty — both inside and out.
What would it take for you to be your own BFF? After all, YOU are the one and only person who is guaranteed to be with you for your whole life.
You might want show to yourself some wild, passionate love for a change!
Being a holistic health coach has allowed me to learn and discover what my body, mind, and spirit need — what loving myself looks like. I pay attention when I need some extra sleep, and I get it. I respect the food that’s best for me and my body. I fully express what I need to say, and I don’t dwell on upsetting situations anymore. I don’t worry about what others will think of me.
All of this self love has brought me greater freedom, joy, and love in my life.
And, because of the many new habits I’ve adopted, I’m incredibly grateful to say that my hair is coming back!
Brene Brown says in her book Daring Greatly, “I think our capacity for wholeheartedness can never be greater than our willingness to be broken-hearted. It means engaging with the world from a place of vulnerability and worthiness.”
This journey of self-discovery, vulnerability, and learning to love all of who I am, has lead to this very moment: the opportunity to share one of the most difficult challenges of my life with you.
Because it doesn’t take courage to fully be me. It only takes love.