This Valentine’s Day, Consider Loving Yourself

You may not automatically associate the term “self-love” with something that is lacking in your life. But, if you struggle with confidence, second-guessing yourself, setting boundaries, lacking a sense of self or direction in life, difficulty with self-care, addiction issues, unhealthy relationships, negative self-talk and self-sabotaging behaviors, then self-love is an area of your life worthy of attention.

Self-love drives our level of self-respect and confidence. When we are lacking in these things, we are willing to compromise ourselves since there is no anchor to which we can tether ourselves. We make decisions based on what others want, set the bar too low for ourselves or fall into numbing or compulsive patterns. In contrast, when we have enough self-love, we make decisions based on what is healthiest for us and consistent with the future life we seek. This translates to positive relationships, an inspiring work and career path, and taking better care of ourselves physically, emotionally and spiritually.

If all of this sounds good but you are wondering how on earth to get there, go back to thinking of yourself as a child. Think about what messages you needed to hear (and maybe didn’t), and what you needed in order to feel safe, loved and valued. Go ahead and write these things down and begin to say these messages to yourself now. Tell yourself these things over and over again.

As you do this, it is amazing how much you begin to heal those old wounds that have created such an insecurity within you. Begin to consider all of the things that you would do if you had the confidence you would want. What relationships would you keep, and which ones would you eliminate? What job would you want and what steps would it take to get there? What self-care routines would you incorporate into your daily life?

These are critical things to consider because they pave the way for you to create the life that you truly want. It’s a life based on self-love and respect, and your choices will reflect that. As you grow into this life, your confidence grows, leading to more positive opportunities and experiences. So this Valentine’s Day, spend some time considering these things, giving yourself the love and attention that you truly deserve.

Avery Neal, PhD is a practicing psychotherapist, international author and speaker. In 2012 she opened Women’s Therapy Clinic, which offers psychiatric and counseling support to women. She specializes in depression and anxiety at all stages in a woman’s life.

Dr. Neal is the author of, If He’s So Great, Why Do I Feel So Bad?: Recognizing and Overcoming Subtle Abuse, which has been translated and published in twelve languages. Her articles and interviews have been published by, American Counseling Association, Counseling Today, BookTrib, Best Self Magazine, Hitched Magazine, Bustle, POPSUGAR and PKWY Magazine, and her courses have been taken by over 18,000 people worldwide. The International Association of HealthCare Professionals nominated her as one of the top psychologists in Houston.