Usually, we connect Valentine’s Day with romance. It’s good to celebrate the love we feel for one another. Valentine’s Day also calls us to love ourselves. Jesus said, the second most important commandment was “Love others as you love yourself.” Psychologists tell us we cannot love others well until we have learned to love ourselves.
Years ago, when I had my counseling business, clients would come who had lost all respect and love for themselves. They saw only their failures – failures on the job, as parents, as a friend, as a lover, or failures in terms of their body size or capabilities. Everything about themselves, as far as they were concerned, was wrong.
In order to help them understand their feelings, we spent time talking about what events and people were a part of their life journey to this point. I would give them homework to help them work on change, on growing their self esteem. One of the exercises asked them to clothe themselves with love every morning by doing the following:
- When you look into the bathroom mirror, stop and give yourself a compliment. It could be as simple as saying, “I like the way my hair shines in the sunlight this morning.” Or “My new nail polish makes my fingers look longer and more graceful.” Or “I like my brown eyes. They remind me of yummy chocolate.”
- As you step out of the shower, say to yourself, “MMMM I smell good, so fresh and clean.
- Do something nice for someone else each day. Afterward tell yourself, “Thank you God for using me to bring goodness to this world.
Those clients who faithfully did their homework were surprised at the change in their attitude towards themselves and others.
This year for Valentine’s Day, I suggest that whether or not you have someone in your life wanting to celebrate you, take some time to love yourself – to love who you are, to love how you look, as God’s special creation. Clothe yourself in love.