Dr. Wendy Leigh White's Blog

Loving Yourself

February is the month of love! We challenge you to show YOURSELF love this Valentine’s day. Rather than just loving and being loved by others, what if you were to focus on showering yourself with care and attention for the full 4 weeks?  Valentine’s is just one day, but feeling worthy of love is a practice for a lifetime.

Knowing in your heart that you are worthy of love and attention is the greatest motivator to keep on track in your treatment or wellness plan. Why would you treat yourself any less nurturing than you’d treat your partner, pet, or child?

Making true lifestyle changes rather than “dieting” and searching for quick-fixes, is one way to demonstrate loving yourself. Adapted from a 2015 Psychology Today article, here are seven ways to increase your attention to – and love for – yourself.

Become mindful.

People who have more self-love tend to know what they think, feel and want. They are mindful of who they are and act on this knowledge, rather than on what others want for them.

Act on what you need rather than what you want. You love yourself when you can turn away from something that feels good and exciting to what you need to stay strong, centered, and moving forward in your life. By staying focused on what you need, you turn away from automatic behavior patterns that get you into trouble, keep you stuck in the past, and lessen self-love.

Practice good self-care.

You will love yourself more, when you take better care of your basic needs. People high in self-love nourish themselves daily through healthy activities, like sound nutrition, exercise, proper sleep, intimacy and healthy social interactions. [If you need help deciding what is best for you, call and schedule an appointment with Dr. White or Dr. Manning! The Basic Treatment Guidelines are fantastic for setting up a solid foundation for health.]

Set boundaries.

You’ll love yourself more when you set limits or say no to work, love, or activities that deplete or harm you physically, emotionally and spiritually, or express poorly who you are.

Protect yourself.

Bring the right people into your life. I love the term frenemies; it describes so well the type of “friends” who take pleasure in your pain and loss rather than in your happiness and success. My suggestion to you here: get rid of them! There isn’t enough time in your life to waste on people who want to take away the shine on your face that says, “I genuinely love myself and life.” You will love and respect yourself more.

Forgive yourself.

We humans can be so hard on ourselves. The downside of taking responsibility for our actions is punishing ourselves too much for mistakes in learning and growing. You have to accept your humanness (the fact that you are not perfect), before you can truly love yourself. Practice being less hard on yourself when you make a mistake. Remember, there are no failures, if you have learned and grown from your mistakes; there are only lessons learned.

Live intentionally.

You will accept and love yourself more, whatever is happening in your life, when you live with purpose and design. Your purpose doesn’t have to be crystal clear to you. If your intention is to live a meaningful and healthy life, you will make decisions that support this intention, and feel good about yourself when you succeed in this purpose. You will love yourself more if you see yourself accomplishing what you set out to do.

Loving yourself, a worthy goal!