It's almost Valentine's Day, which means you may be feeling sad about your singledom, getting excited for some chocolate, rolling your eyes at how cheesy a holiday it is, or feeling ready for a hot date with your partner. Whatever your situation, and whatever you think about Valentine's Day, the winter is a special time to give yourself a little more love, and feel the warmth within.
Self-love is essential to our health and happiness. And no, I'm not talking about the molded-silicone-water-based-lube-and-plenty-o'-batteries kind of self-love. Duh: we all know that kind of self-love is all good and fun. But today I'm talking about having the courage to make a deliberate decision to make a special place for yourself in your own heart … just as you are right this second, flaws, fears and all.
I know this can be difficult especially when you've had a particularly crappy day, when you are feeling hopeless, or frustrated, or so fat that you fear you may be mistaken for a cetacean. But before you dive for the chardonnay or contemplate re-watching all four seasons of Scandal until you are bleeding from the eyes, first try offering yourself this little pre-Valentine's Day gift:
It's called a metta (or lovingkindness) meditation, and it's one of my favorite exercises for feeling the love that already exists in your life. It's a simple yet profound practice that will foster some sweet, sweet lovin', and you get to reserve all the positive vibes for yourself.
Metta meditation is an amazing way to see how you can dedicate energy to loving yourself without it looking anything like selfishness or narcissism. It's a simple ritual, always available at your disposal, to nurture compassion for yourself, but also for others. Think of it as a little sugar-free candy heart you can give yourself that says, "Hey you, you're doing great. Here's some love." By feeling OK in yourself, you will be able to loosen the grip on thinking others should be a certain way, too.
As Thich Nhat Han says, "Loving oneself is the foundation for loving another person." With that in mind, you begin metta meditation practice by offering compassion to yourself first. It can feel relatively easy to offer kindness and love to the parts of ourselves that we already like, but metta's real power is revealed when we offer lovingkindness to the parts of ourselves we don't like.
Now let's give this a try!