February is frequently seen in the West as a month of love and a month to celebrate love. We tend to evaluate the relationships in our lives and show our appreciation to the ones we hold closest to us.
Often, our culture focuses on the outward expression of love to our friends and partner(s) and does not often turn the focus inward to look at the expression of love within ourselves.
Think about this — if I asked you to name all of the people in your life whom you love, would you name yourself? How long would it take you to name yourself? Would you take some time out of your day to celebrate yourself just for being you?
This inward expression of love is what will most benefit our outward expression of love. I would bet most of us have heard the expression, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” That phrase does not only mean that we can’t give energy to anything else if we are running on empty — it also means if we are not fostering love within ourselves, then how can we truly love someone else?
As Matt Kahn said, “People can only meet you, as deeply as they’ve met themselves,” and the same goes for you. Your capacity to love others is directly related to your capacity to love yourself.
This is especially important in partnerships. Notice when you get triggered by your partner(s). Do you feel they are asking for too much from you, or do you feel like you don’t have enough time for yourself? Sometimes, even normal conversations or requests from your partner(s) can feel daunting and triggering if you haven’t taken care of yourself first.
Truthfully, the first step in moving forward in a partnership is first moving forward with yourself, knowing who you are and loving — no, adoring — that person. Only then can you begin the process of letting someone else sincerely know who you are and only then can you love one another deeply.
As the flight attendants on an airplane always say, you have to put your own oxygen mask on before helping others. Remember your own oxygen mask this month, and take a day or a weekend to celebrate and cultivate love for yourself!
Maybe this becomes a new ritual for you or at least a step in the direction of self-care and self-love. A great place to start might be journaling all of the things you love about yourself. Do you like your job? How you treat strangers? What kind of a friend you are? How you spend your time? Maybe the color of your hair? That is a fantastic place to start.
There is no wrong part of yourself to love. Take yourself to dinner or take a bath and check in with yourself — how are you doing? What do you need more of this month? Are you doing the things that make you feel good? If not, how can you get yourself back to that?
We are frequently made to feel selfish if we put ourselves before others. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Remember your oxygen mask and know that no one is entitled to your time or emotions. It is always time for deeper self-love!
About the Author
Isabel Meijering is an acupuncturist in Austin, Texas and is the owner of “Admiring You Wellness.” She has a B.S. in biomedical sciences with a minor in psychology and has a deep love for both eastern and western medicine, which started with her introduction to yoga and grew from there. She also has her master’s in acupuncture with a specialization in Chinese herbal medicine as well as cupping therapy and her doctorate in acupuncture and Chinese medicine.