It’s valentine’s day. A day that has become synonymous with expressing our love to our special beloveds, or those whom we even secretly admire. What if though we could use this day to not only share our love with those around us, but also ear-mark it as a day where we can truly celebrate the love for ourselves. A day where we can stop our usual routines of being externally focused on the world around us and cherish every aspect of ourselves.

Last year, whilst I was in the midst of my end-of-year madness heading for burnout a wise friend asked me something. I had just met another important deadline, which had required me to push myself beyond sleep and rely on caffeine and other stimulants to give me enough working hours in the day to meet my tasks. I was expressing to her how grateful I was for my life and how grateful I was that I had the opportunity to work and study, and even though I had big deadlines that were exhausting me, how wonderful it was that I had this opportunity to learn and grow. I was choosing to be grateful for these deadlines as evidence of the opportunities that I had, rather than resentful of them that they were depriving me of sleep etc. She then said to me:

“Tiffany, how often do you stop to appreciate yourself? Each deadline that you meet, do you appreciate yourself for the hard work that you have put in?”

This question made me stop and pause. I was grateful… but was I appreciative?

I then realised that I don’t take the time to appreciate myself. I expect that I will meet the deadlines. I have an expectation of myself of perfection, for success, and so meeting my deadlines is taken for granted. I don’t stop and appreciate myself for my abilities that have resulted in me meeting my deadlines. My persistence, my intelligence, my will-power, my hard work.

How quickly would our relationships with our partners become stale and stagnant if everything that they did for us, in their appreciation and commitment to us, were met with absolute unacknowledgment? And not only unacknowledgment, but a sense of “well that’s what you’re here for – it’s your duty and my expectation of you to do all of these things. What should I thank you for you? You are just doing your job.”

Our relationship to ourselves is our primary building block for all our other relationships, and the quality of all our relationships depends on our relationship to ourselves.

How we do anything, is how we do everything …

So before you dive into expressing how much you love and admire your partners and friends this valentine’s day, take some time to love and appreciate yourself.

One of the things that I loved doing with my lover was massaging him whilst he was blindfolded, or at least with eyes closed. This gave me an opportunity to explore and love every inch of his body and skin. To admire all parts of him, from his lips to his toes, without the feeling of being watched or judged. How often do we limit our loving with our partners to just those parts which are acceptable to the mutual exchange? Equally, how often do we take time to explore every inch of our own bodies? Giving loving touch and appreciation to every inch. Feeling and exploring our different levels of sensation and places of sensitivity, even those parts which are less sensitive. Why should our nipples or ears receive more love than our elbows or bellybutton?

Exercise for you

My invitation for you this valentine’s day is to set some time aside to engage in a tactile loving exploration of yourself whilst serenading yourself (edgy I know). Give yourself some time and space so that you feel comfortable and relaxed, without any fears of being judged or even seen.

A beautiful song that I recently discovered is “All of Me” by John Legend.

As much as this is also a beautiful song to share with a lover, I find the words are the most beautiful to express them and sing them to yourself. Look at yourself in the mirror, meet your gaze and sing…. As you are loving your toes, belly and thighs, singing “all of me, loves all of you, love your curves and all your edges, all your perfect imperfections”, as you love your ears, elbows and knees, singing “Give your all to me, I’ll give my all to you, you’re my end and my beginning, even when I lose I’m winning”. Play with it, engage with it, because at the end of the day you are with you forever….

 

 

LYRICS:

 

What would I do without your smart mouth?
Drawing me in, and you kicking me out
You’ve got my head spinning, no kidding, I can’t pin you down
What’s going on in that beautiful mind
I’m on your magical mystery ride
And I’m so dizzy, don’t know what hit me, but I’ll be alright
[Pre-Chorus:]
My head’s under water
But I’m breathing fine
You’re crazy and I’m out of my mind

 

[Chorus:]
‘Cause all of me
Loves all of you
Love your curves and all your edges
All your perfect imperfections
Give your all to me
I’ll give my all to you
You’re my end and my beginning
Even when I lose I’m winning
‘Cause I give you all of me
And you give me all of you, ohoh

 

[Verse 2:]
How many times do I have to tell you
Even when you’re crying you’re beautiful too
The world is beating you down, I’m around through every mood
You’re my downfall, you’re my muse
My worst distraction, my rhythm and blues
I can’t stop singing, it’s ringing, in my head for you

 

[Pre-Chorus:]
My head’s under water
But I’m breathing fine
You’re crazy and I’m out of my mind
[Chorus:]
‘Cause all of me
Loves all of you
Love your curves and all your edges
All your perfect imperfections
Give your all to me
I’ll give my all to you
You’re my end and my beginning
Even when I lose I’m winning
‘Cause I give you all of me
And you give me all of you, ohoh

 

[Bridge:]
Give me all of you
Cards on the table, we’re both showing hearts
Risking it all, though it’s hard

 

[Chorus:]
‘Cause all of me
Loves all of you
Love your curves and all your edges
All your perfect imperfections
Give your all to me
I’ll give my all to you
You’re my end and my beginning
Even when I lose I’m winning
‘Cause I give you all of me
And you give me all of you
I give you all of me
And you give me all of you, ohoh