self love

The Love Within

Happy Valentine’s Day!  This day can bring up a range of emotions for many of us - excitement, sadness, numbness, anger, disappointment, tenderness, ambivalence and much more.  This can change depending where we are in our life.

What I’ve come to realize over the years, is that how I experience this day (and relationships in general) is largely related to where I am in relationship with myself.  

Many of us have core wounds related to lovability, worthiness, and/or our value.  These wounds were often created early on in life.  Maybe by a message we heard from a loved one, maybe it was the absence of a primary care giver (literally or due to mental health or substance use), maybe it was because of another early negative experience or trauma.  That wound can be raw for a very long time.  Sometimes we don’t even realize it’s there.  

We often move through life trying not to acknowledge that wound.  Sometimes we are trying to avoid it through distractions like overworking or binge watching our favorite shows.  Sometimes we try to people please or try to be “perfect.”  Sometimes we try to numb it through using food or other substances.

There are times we try to find something or someone outside to assure us that this fear we hold about ourself isn’t true.  If I win that award… If I date this person… If I get that job… If that person loves me…

Sometimes this may help us short term.  Eventually something changes.  Then, we are again questioning our lovability, worthiness, or value.  

There is another option though… What if we could give ourselves the love we deserve?  Take some time to sit down, get to know ourselves better, get to know the different aspects of ourselves, and in time help heal those wounds.  Then, we wouldn’t be needing someone or something from the outside to give those things to us.  Then, when we meet another person we won’t have the same expectations.  Yes we have standards, we have goals, and we have hopes for relationships.  But how we feel about ourselves is no longer dependent on these outside factors.  

I invite you to take some time today or over the next days to get to know yourself.  Be curious about why you do all the things you do.  Connect to the different aspects of yourself.  Thank them for getting you to where you are today.  Make a plan to spend time with them again.  When you’re ready, set an intention to take steps towards healing any wounds that are there by participating in therapy.  You deserve it.  

Let this Valentine’s Day be a day you give yourself the love you deserve.  If there are others in your life whether they be friends, family, partners, or pets that you want to send love to, take moments to do that too.  When the love starts within, the rest is icing on the cake.  Make the day one full of love, appreciation, joy, and connection.

Later that day I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous.
— Carrie Bradshaw
San Diego Therapist