Those old crooners Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra reinforced the myth way back when in the song:
“You’re nobody ’til somebody loves you … So find yourself somebody to love.”
This upcoming Valentine’s week is a good reminder that that song and countless others like it – from most genres: rock, country-western, pop, jazz, the blues … you name it, are flush with lyrics that essentially say “I’m gonna die if I lose your love or have to live without you.”
We’re surrounded by lyrics like this … from our earliest years. We’re inculcated to focus on needing others to love us that we neglect our own well-being and happiness. This is particularly true in Western cultures where self-exploration is not widely encouraged or understood.
We can only love others to the degree we love ourself
However, the irony is that our sense of centeredness, clarity, and happiness can only emerge when we truly get to know ourself. When we learn to take the time to understand our own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, we can better understand how lovable and likable we actually are.
This inner exploration can lead to a greater sense of self-love. And when we are confident in our self-acceptance, it sets the tone for us to be able to love others more fully resulting in stronger, healthier relationships.
So, how do we start this process of self-exploration? Here are a few steps you can take to begin:
- Practice self-reflection. Take some time each day to reflect on your thoughts and emotions. Ask yourself why you feel the way you do and identify any patterns or behaviors that may be contributing to negative feelings. I have many free Emotional Liberation practices that can support you in doing this. Check them out here.
- Learn to accept your flaws and imperfections. We all have flaws and imperfections, and that’s okay. The more we can accept and love ourselves, flaws and all, the more we can love and accept others. My self-acceptance mantra around this is: Sometimes I’m brilliant and sometimes I’m an idiot – and I love all of me.
- Surround yourself with positive people. The people we surround ourselves with can have a huge impact on our self-esteem and confidence. Seek out people who uplift and support you, rather than tear you down. To do this we need to learn the skill of drawing good boundaries (if we never learned this important skill, then people will learn they can walk all over us).
- Find activities that bring you joy. Whether it’s reading, gardening, or playing a sport, find activities that bring you happiness and fulfillment. Engaging in these activities can help boost your self-esteem and overall well-being.
- Seek professional help if needed. If you’re struggling with self-love and acceptance, don’t hesitate to seek the help of a professional. A therapist or counselor can provide you with tools and strategies to improve your self-esteem and relationships. I’m always available if you want to meet in a 1-to-1 session.
Regardless of what Valentine’s Day means or does not mean to you, self-exploration is a vital component of loving and being loved. By taking the time to understand ourselves, we can better understand how lovable and likable we actually are, and in turn, we can improve our relationships and overall happiness.
Then you’ll be singing: “I’m somebody because I love me.”
P.S. If you’d like to immerse yourself in an enthralling week of life changing experiences, I invite you to consider one of my upcoming Portugal retreats (I’ve added more!) I’m settled into my new country of residence and would love to welcome you to spend a spectacular week with me in Southern Portugal!