“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have a definitive origin and there are a couple of theories. One points to the bloody ancient Roman festival of fertility, Lupercalia and the other claims that St. Valentine was a man in the early centuries C.E. who signed his love letters, “From your Valentine.”
What we do know is that beginning as early as the eighteenth century, Valentine’s Day has been designated in Western culture as the day to celebrate love, bringing with it all the symbols we associate with it today: Cupid’s arrow, love birds, and those ubiquitous pink and red hearts.
It can be easy to forget just how integral love, in all its forms, is to our wellbeing so regardless of how you feel about the extravagance of the holiday, what Valentine’s day really comes down to is celebrating love—which can’t be overblown on any day of the year.
Back when I was a personal trainer, I spent a lot of time visiting the homes of people who wanted to get into great shape. Some clients, even though they were following all my advice, never seemed to be able to reach their goals of weight loss or reap the benefits of a genuinely healthy lifestyle.
At first, I was mystified. The things I taught them had worked all throughout my previous career—as an athletic trainer—with high school athletes as well as Division-I college athletes that eventually became pros.
Why wasn't it working for some of my clients?
The more I talked to them, the more I recognized a pattern:
THEY DIDN'T FEEL LOVED. Including that they didn’t love themselves.
I noticed that if I helped them recognize qualities that they could love in themselves, they started to get better results — and better results meant they began to look younger, their skin started to shine, and their scowls brightened into a full-body glow.
So, in the name of Valentine’s Day, wellness, and enormous teddy bears, I’d like to invite all you Annmarie Skin Care Beauties to reflect, and ask yourselves,
Do I feel loved? Do I love myself? Am I giving love?
Based on my experience, the answer to this question makes all the difference, not only in our physical appearance, but also in our overall health. Whatever your answer, I think we should all take today to work on creating more love in our lives. Read on for my go-to ways to nurture love within ourselves and our relationships.
7 Tips to Love Yourself By
1—First by Cultivating an Open Heart. Begin by breathing deeply, looking inward, and opening your heart. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Here are some simple ways to start opening your heart to accept the love that you deserve, taken from some of my favorite self-love resources:
- Lean into self-expression. Think about what makes you feel the most you, and then set some time aside just for that today—even better if you carve out time for self-expression weekly.
- Get lost in nature. Surrounding yourself with vibrant, living things and letting yourself wander without a destination in mind is sometimes exactly what we need to feel at peace.
- Strike a yoga pose. Yoga is designed to slow us down and help us connect with our bodies.
- Meditate. Challenge yourself to stop your busy life and mind for a few minutes a day, and spend that time instead noticing the negative thought patterns that may be preventing you from having a fully open heart.
- Release your anger, forgive. One of the most common things that gets in the way of opening our hearts is the anger or resentment we may be harboring against someone in our life.
2—Take care of your body by drinking water, giving it good food and cooling down when you feel stressed. There's nothing more aging than bad food, bad water and health-destroying stress.
3—Forgive yourself. Let go of your past experiences and expectations. Forgive yourself for who you were and stop thinking about who you aren't yet. Be in the now—it's the only time you can reinvent yourself and become whatever you want to be.
4—Stop criticizing yourself. Try to merely observe the self-doubt come and go, rather than internalize it. Do your best, and even if you come up short, do your best the next time too.
5—Treat yourself the way you would want someone that loves you to treat you. Put yourself in the shoes of your partner, parents, or best friends and evaluate the way you talk to yourself. Have you been unkind? Have your forgotten how to see the good in yourself?
6—Do daily affirmations. Today I choose to honor my beauty, strength, and uniqueness. See some of our other favorites here in our inner beauty post.
7—Practice looking into your own eyes and being comfortable with what you see. Go face to face with yourself in a mirror and smile, frown, laugh, cry. Learn to love yourself in any state at any time, and you'll learn how to be comfortable in your own skin, which goes a long way toward self-love.
7 Tips to Love Others By
1—Learn each other's love language. My love language is physical touch followed by a tie between quality time and words of affirmation. Read about the rest of the ASC team’s love languages on our latest Cup of Tea post on the blog.
2—Practice good old-fashioned compassion. Camille Noe Pagan writes in her recent TIME Magazine article that “When spouses were humble and compassionate towards each other, they were less stressed and more satisfied in their relationships. That may be because compassion, in particular, smoothes out the inevitable rough spots in a relationship.”
3—Understand each other a bit differently. When you are looking for ways to help deepen your connections it can be fun and enlightening to use ancient wisdom to get to know each other more. This may include diving into each other’s astrological signs or exploring the ideas behind face reading.
4—Plan surprise date days/nights! Show your person how much you truly know what they like by planning a special date. Whether it’s a romantic sunset hike or tickets to the ball game, have your creativity show just how much you understand them and care about them.
5—Be in Attunement with each other. Trust is build on emotional connection, emotional connections is created through attunement. Give your undivided attention to them when needed, face-to-face, eyeball to eyeball attention. Also show genuine interest, no matter what it is.
6—For those Romantic Relationships: Explore each other’s Sexual Blue Prints. Take the erotic quiz together, here.
7—If things ever get a bit sour try these:
Continue to make your hypothesis about your partner positive. Your brain will search for information to verify whatever narrative, or hypothesis, about your partner that’s running through your mind at the moment. If your thoughts are negative, all you’ll be able to see or hear are things that seem to ‘prove’ your negative hypothesis true/
Have a coach. Whether it’s a therapist or a mutual friend that has been where you want your relationship to progress to, it’s so helpful to have someone to help you talk things through when things get emotionally charged between you and your partner.
Finally, to me, love means being happy in your day-to-day, being kind to yourself and, most importantly, loving YOURSELF and then others. I truly feel if you cannot love yourself fully, then you may not be able to give love back fully to anything else, preventing you from having a fully open heart.
Happy Valentines Day!