Month of Lov(ing) Yourself
February has historically been one of my least favorite months of the year.
And it’s absolutely because of Valentine's Day.
While many people (single and partnered) adore this day and this entire month, for a long time I fell in line with those that loathe it.
Walking through the aisles of Target and seeing themed everything, EVERYWHERE got on my last nerve. Truth be told, it still does. For me, the relentless push of consumerism has turned this and every other holiday into another reason you need to buy something. Themed home décor, clothing, paper goods, and cupcake sprinkles.
Note: If you ENJOY this (as some of my friends do), then you do you. I am not here to pass judgment or rain on your parade. I’m here to say to those that do not enjoy the commercialization of the entire month of February: I get it.
It turns out that for me, the tighter I hold onto to an opinion or belief, the more it's challenged and re-shaped. When I put my foot down and declare I will never do a thing or I will always dislike a thing, circumstances in my life start to shift and call me to the mat. Wrestling with my own certainty, breaking it into many pieces, and putting it back together again is perhaps the only consistent form of physical activity I've ever done in my life. This particularly aspect of my personality—the ability to see things from all sides - to hold two seemingly opposing thoughts in my head at the same time—is a gift and a great burden.
So here's my certainty about Valentine's Day: it's marketed AT us in a way that’s intended to get us to buy, buy, buy. And, we have a choice about whether to participate in that consumerism or not. Furthermore, we have a choice about what we make Valentine’s Day (or any holiday, for that matter) mean to us.
If you won't take my word (or Mama Ru's) for it, maybe you'll listen to an unlikely proponent of self-love: Tim Ferriss. This uber-competitive life-hacker is probably the LAST person you’d ever expect to have an opinion on something as “fluffy” as loving yourself, but he recently said:
This month, I invite you to turn inward and spend some time loving the most precious human in your life: yourself. Below, I'll share some of my favorite resources for becoming a kinder, gentler, and sexier partner to your beloved self.
As you explore the resources below, keep this in mind: it is important to start where you are. Does the word self-love make you roll your eyes? Then don’t try to read a book called “Radical Self-Love” (which I’ll recommend further down in this article). I’m offering several resources here. Pick ONE that resonates with you today. The rest will be here when you’re ready to come back.
I'll also say this: it's not lost on me that some of these are free and others aren't. Consumerism in the self-help industry is just as insidious and rampant as in any other, but that's a discussion for another time. For now, I'll offer my simplest litmus test for whether to spend money on something: does it feel good? If I'm spending money out of an empty sense of lacking something, FOMO, or trying to fill an emotional void, I try to avoid it. If I'm excited about spending the money, I go for it.
“Treat others the way you want to be treated” – the Golden Rule. And yet, do you treat yourself the way that you treat others? Have you ever talked to yourself in a way you wouldn’t dare speak to another person?
Dr. Kristin Neff’s research leads the field when it comes to self-compassion. Her site is stocked with research, self-compassion practices, and this interactive quiz that will help you understand just how self-compassionate you are (or are not).
If you’re ready to take it to the next level, this book can light your path. It’s written in a simple, accessible manner where Gala shares her personal journey to self-love and the practices she learned along the way. What I like about this book is that the chapters are short, and they each end with actionable homework items and takeaway ideas that you can implement in your life right now.
Women's sexual pleasure has lived in the shadows for too long. Far too many women relate to Margot in "Cat Person" or find themselves paying the price (pain) for male pleasure. That tide is changing, slowly... Want to be a radical part of that change from the comfort of your own bedroom? Explore getting in touch with your sexual pleasure.
Here are two of my favorite resources for getting in touch with what feels good:
The group behind this site conducted the first-ever large-scale peer-reviewed and published research on women's sexual pleasure. Their findings are shared in Season One (more seasons forthcoming!) of this subscription-based service (a one-time fee grants you lifetime access).
Layla offers a lot... everything from a daily yoga practice to get grounded in your body to a tantric sexuality coaching certification program. You can go from novice to guru on her website. I love her fun, down-to-Earth energy and short, informative YouTube videos, so I'd recommend browsing her YouTube channel for something that piques your interest, then go from there!
Remember, my dears, to start where you're at. If none of this resonates with you today, come back another day. If pleasure feels like way too much to handle, start with self-compassion. Meeting yourself where you're at is one of the things you can do to love yourself more fully.
Do you have a favorite resource in this realm? Perhaps a book or a podcast that really helped the idea of caring for and loving yourself click? I'd love for you to share it with me in the comments!
*Thumbnail photo credit: "Hearts Garland" by Ellen, TheLittleThingEV on Etsy