What you can learn about love in ten seconds

Give me ten seconds of your time.  Well, 20-30 seconds really, if you’re all in.  Humor me.  It’s Valentine’s Day and this year, I want to invite you to free yourself from all the expectations that come with it.  Really.

Are you in?  Come on, I dare you – sit still for ten seconds and say these words out loud.

I love myself. I accept myself. I forgive myself.

Go on. Say it. Out loud.

Here’s where the next 10-20 seconds come in.  Think – when you said those words, what did you do?

ThinkingDid you wince? Cringe? Laugh? Did you roll your eyes? Think, “This is stupid. This is fru-fru, tree-hugging nonsense”?

Or maybe, you tried but you choked on the words. Did your chest get tight? Eyes squint, get a little uncomfortable? Was your head shaking as you tried to utter them?

Valentine’s Day is the love holiday.  Or the Hallmark holiday for you more jaded types. It’s a day we ask others to pause, think about us, and perhaps pull out the checkbook for something pretty. And for those of us who are single, we might buy ourselves a nice box of chocolates and a dozen roses while we convince ourselves that being alone is ok.

But here’s the deal. It’s not ok. Not if you can’t utter those three phrases, out loud and wholly dedicated to yourself, with honesty and acceptance. If you can not give yourself the gift of love, from yourself, how are you to offer it to another?

We choke on those words, we roll our eyes and keep them at bay, because to say them and believe them not only feels conceited and foolish, it’s HARD. Our self defense mechanism immediately kicks in with, “Of course I love myself – I’m freaking awesome.”  But underneath that, right away and only so you can hear, comes another voice that says, “You are such a fraud. If you are so awesome, where is that man (or woman) who looks at you like the world will crumble without you? Where are all these adoring friends of yours? Where are all the gifts and text messages and heartfelt emojis that confirm that you are indeed wonderful?”  And even though we don’t acknowledge it out loud, we listen to that voice.  We believe it. And we let it roll our eyes and call ourselves stupid.  We let it squash the emotion and fear that rises when you try to push those words out through your lips. And we deny the power – the chokehold – it has over us.

Whose voice is that – where does it come from and what does it know, that it consistent tells you that you aren’t awesome?

If you’re waiting this Valentine’s Day for someone to tell you how amazing you are, how beautiful, handsome, thoughtful and spectacular you are, then you are wasting time. Yes, there will be people in your life who will fill that role and for a few moments, you will saturate yourself in the golden wash of someone else’s attention. You will get roses, dinner or maybe a night out dancing. By all means, bask in the joy. But when that person turns away to focus on something or someone else, when the chocolates are gone and the flowers have died, where is that glow of love and acceptance coming from?

This year, use Valentine’s Day to mark the day you own your own heart.

Say these words again.

I love myself.  I accept myself. I forgive myself.

  • Love who you are and all you offer the world. You are enough. Heck, you are everything.
  • Accept that you are human, messy and beautiful.  And that is who you are meant to be.self love child
  • Forgive yourself for beating yourself up all these years… for not being good enough, smart enough, pretty enough… for judging yourself more harshly than you would ever judge another human being.

Say those words. Hear your voice. Despite the cringe, despite the newfound pressure in your chest or the almost-involuntary eye-roll, say them out loud again.  Release them into the universe and repeat this until you can say these words evenly, freely and with feeling from your inner core that these words are true.

In ten seconds, you can learn a lot about who you love and how you love. This Valentine’s Day, use that time wisely.


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