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The Courageous Act of Self-Love

As we embark on our healing journey, love must be at the center.

Love is what unifies all of us, but our understanding of love varies. Often, we are taught how to love others way before we are taught to love ourselves. As a result, a lot of us turn to trying to find love in things outside of ourselves. For many people who’ve never practiced self-love, it can feel overwhelming and, at times, a bit narcissistic. The difference is that loving yourself is not selfish. It’s a radical act of self-preservation.

Hollywood never tells us that every Julia Robert’s love story is really about self-love.

We grow flowers on the farm that surrounds our emergency shelter, so flower metaphors are one of our favorite things. Often when survivors are on the farm, they see parallels between themselves and the flowers that they are tending to. These flowers, like us, are designed to thrive, but sometimes the conditions surrounding them just aren’t conducive to growth. Even in good conditions, every flower eventually needs water to nurture their full bloom. Thich Nhat Hanh, a monk and peace activist, often refers to the action of expressing love as watering flowers. In the context of self-love, this means we must know how to water our own flowers.

Sometimes we aren’t able to practice self-love because we don’t feel worthy of love at all.

This is one of the most vulnerable truths that we can acknowledge. You’re not alone, and it’s not your fault. It’s easy to forget we are worthy of being loved. Messages from family, intimate partners, and social media can make feeling worthy even more difficult. This is why the practice of self-love is so valuable. When we water our own flowers, we’re less likely to accept unhealthy love that comes our way.

Whether you’re single or partnered, take time to water your own flowers this Valentine’s Day – you deserve it! 

Not sure where to start? No need to worry, we’ve got you covered.  Be courageous and vulnerable – and check out this list of ways to practice self-love.

  1. Write your future self a love letter. And wait until next Valentine’s Day to open it. Your future self will appreciate it!
  2. Make yourself your favorite meal.  Need some good ideas. Check out this list from One Dish Kitchen.
  3. Plant some flower seeds and help them grow. Now is the perfect time to begin seeding Snapdragons.
  4. Host an evening with friends. Keep it small and easy. Enjoy each other’s company.
  5. Do something for someone else. The quickest way to feel love is by showing it to others.
  6. Get all dressed up just for you. 
  7. Put on your favorite song and move your beautiful body during a solo dance party.
  8. Go play outside. No matter how old we are, we all have an inner child within that loves to get out and play.
  9. Make a list of things you’re grateful for.  
  10. Create a vision board. There is nothing more nourishing that knowing what you want and speaking it out to the universe.
  11. Make yourself some chocolates from scratch. This Betty Crocker recipe for truffles is a good one.
  12. Start that book you’ve been wanting to read, or consider a few of these suggestions.
  13. Take a day trip. Doesn’t have to be far. Check out this list from Visit Lex for staycation ideas in central Kentucky.
  14. Unplug and disconnect for the day. Take the day to not answer calls, respond to emails, or scroll on social media.
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