5 Steps to Love Yourself


February is in full swing, and everyone is loving all the love: Valentines, Palentines, Galentines, and so forth. It reminds me of one of my favorite cartoons, Phineas and Ferb‘s “Redundant scribe of Redundantness.” We are striving to locate that special person to fill the missing part inside us. Finding what they enjoy most, and making sure that they feel full joy by providing that thing to them by spending time, money, and effort; to almost forcing them to understand that they are worth the world to us.

And sometimes it’s not just one person, but a group of people: our tribe, kids, husbands, partners, work-family. It’s not surprising that we are worn out by the time February 15th rolls around.

5 Steps to Love Yourself Charleston Moms

To me, the term “self-love” usually implies spa days and lattes, but that’s not the direction that I’m going.

I want you to LOVE YOURSELF. (That’s really emphasized, but totally not in an angry way).

It took me a long time to learn why this is so important, and I would like to save you some years and tears by bringing you some very simplified steps to loving yourself.

  1. Recognize that She’s Lost.

The first step is acknowledging that there’s a problem. Basically, it can be described as mitosis that happened, a cellular separation forming two identical selves; the original “You” and the one that is formed from all of the titles and tasks that you must take on.

For me, “She” had always been lost. From a very young age, I had morphed myself to reflect everyone’s expectations of me. She was lost because I was trying my hardest to please everyone, believing that my wants and needs came last. Putting myself so low on the priority list that I didn’t realize that She even existed, much less needed love.

2. Find Her.

Once you know that She’s lost, you have to figure out where She is. For some of us, it’s like finding our keys, looking for where we may have left Her. When was the last time you saw Her? When was the last time She was high on the priority list?

For others, it’s more like braving a jungle with a machete, Indiana Jones-style searching for the Lost Ark. It takes time and effort because She may be hidden under the piles of hats She wears and tasks that She does. Is She a mom, wife, employee, friend, sister, daughter, volunteer doing all of the things that each of these amazing titles does? Has She been shoved, pushed, and prodded so far down the priority list that She completely fell off?

3. Reconnect with Her.

Once you find Her, you may want to relearn what She is like. Spend some time allowing Her to feel like a new friend, finding what makes Her smile.

We spend so much time tending to others and discerning what they need, like, and want that it’s staggering how we rarely even care about what really means the most to Her.

4. Find what Fulfills Her.

One definition of fulfill is “to satisfy.” Find not just what makes her smile or brings her joy at the moment, but what satisfies Her soul. Does she thrive in the outdoors, or running, singing, or creating art? Does she flourish in achieving impossible goals? What would make Her feel like She can conquer the world? Find “that.”

5 Steps to Love Yourself Charleston Moms
Image by Rebecca Dunlap

5. Make a plan.

Formulate a plan to make “that” happen. Schedule an epic camping trip. Research how to and decide to write a blog or compose and publish a book, complete an Ironman. By spending time and effort devising a plan and bringing it to fruition, you are showing Her that She is worth your love.

Soon others will see Her, the You that was lost all that time ago, buried under piles of tasks and duties until She had fallen out of sight.

Those who are closest to you will comment on the smile on your face, the extra spark in your eye. They will ask what you are doing differently, and it may be easier to say that you are taking a little time for yourself, or you are getting your groove back, maybe even that you have found your self-worth; but you know the work put in to make sure that She feels loved. She will bring a fuller and better relationship to those you love, making the connections so much stronger because your life is brighter with Her in it.

Put in the time and effort this month for loving yourself, because She is you and YOU are worth it.