Another Kind of Love

Welcome back to my train of thought people…

The year is officially old as we roll into the second month. February is known for a lot of things, Black History Month (U.S), LGBT History Month (UK), Abraham Lincoln Day (U.S), our own Youth Day (Southern Cameroon’s historical Plebiscite Day) on the 11th, the regular Mount Cameroon Race of Hope but most of all February is known as the month of love….and St.Valentine’s day. The month is mostly commercialized as the month of love- Eros, to be specific. But in tune with the Oscar Wilde quote which is paraphrased to go; Your first romance should be with yourself, I find myself musing on self love, the necessity of it and just how we can love ourselves more and better.
It is no secret that ours is a society that leaves little room for contentment. We are always pushed to be better, smarter more beautiful, wittier, richer, more popular etc. It’s never enough to be just you! And in that competition with all the comparisons we fail to truly appreciate who and what we are without the “buts”. May it suffice to say this is not healthy, as much as we may want to be better we need to acknowledge that we are not “worse”. There are a plethora of reasons we ought to love ourselves. But let’s limit it to just one:
Love yourself as best you can, as it will set the standard for any other love you may ever receive. When you put yourself first, appreciate yourself enough and treat yourself well, it’s near impossible for anyone else, not to follow suit! When you put yourself down, you give others the permission to do same, when you don’t treat yourself well, other have the excuse not to treat you well.
So here are some tips on loving you and treating yourself… be your own Valentine, because you’re worth it!

·         Treat yourself like you treat an honored guest. How do you treat the guest you want to make an impression on? Let me guess; you clean the house from top to bottom before they arrive, would cook their favorite meal? Would literally cater to their needs and wants right? Well that should be you. You are important enough, actually of utmost importance and deserving to reserve the VIP treatment you reserve for those VIPs in your life. Give yourself compliments cook your favorite meals, buy yourself treats, organize an outing just for you. And don’t say “it’s just me” You are not “just” anything… It’s your life- put yourself in first place.
·         Don’t compare, COMPLIMENT! Everyone on this earth is unique. However this is the most forgettable fact of life when we compare so often. We wish we looked like A or spoke like B or sang like C or had D’s wardrobe etc! In loving yourself you have to bring to mind what you have that no one else does (and even if someone else does have it appreciate the fact that you do too). Once a day say something good about yourself to yourself. Rather than looking in the mirror everyday and saying “I wish I could change this or that”. Make affirmative statements of what you like most about yourself. Don’t get us wrong, We all could do with a bit of improvement, but the fact that you could improve does mean you are not great just the way you are. Appreciate and love that! Stop criticizing yourself for being less than perfect. Always do your best, but not reaching perfection is not failure. There are so many great things about us and in our lives we take for granted when we concentrate on only what is wrong with us.  Count your blessings. Literally. Keep a gratitude journal where you write up all what you are grateful for about yourself, life or just your day.
·         Court yourself.  You know how a guy courts a girl he’s after… well we can take a tip from them and date ourselves. Buy yourself just out of love. Not something you need not food to eat not daily necessities, A PRESENT!  Something you wish someone else could have seen and bought out of love for you. Well love yourself enough to buy it for yourself! In fact buy yourself a Valentine gift! Self care is very important. Set up some time to be by yourself, just by yourself. Spend time on yourself, do something that gives you joy with yourself- go dancing, take a lazy afternoon, save some cash and make plans to travel. You can nurture yourself physically by exercising and consuming healthy food. You can nurture yourself emotionally by listening to good music, helping others in need, the feeling of being useful and beneficial is inexplicable. As you give yourself to others and offer help, you receive the gift of love back. You feel good about yourself because you live your life on purpose.
·         Seize The Day! #YOLO is a very popular handle and rightfully so, you do only live once we fail to appreciate that. We know it but don’t really acquiesce to that knowledge. In loving yourself you need to appreciate each day! We don’t know just how many we may have or not. If you were to die tomorrow morning, what would you regret most? What could you do about it today?  Make a list of everything in life that brings you joy; Singing, Dancing, touring, volunteering. Make a roster to do one of those things routinely. Plan joy into your day and happiness into your life. Make your life dreamy and lovable.
·         Cut Out The Negative People. One of my rules is this. I never let anyone tell me what I cannot tell myself. So if I say I can do something, no one has a right to tell me I cannot.  "Misery loves company” as they say so for the love of yourself stay away from those who grumble more thn they smile and are always ready to tell you the flaw but hardly ever give you any hope. Those people will suck you dry! It’s not always possible to cut  them out of our lives completely but it is possible to ignore what they say and surround yourself with positive people who DO and not just complain and talk cheap.
·         Accept Yourself! Finally the best way to start loving yourself is to accept yourself just as you are. Life is not the way it is supposed to be, it is the way it is- so are you. Don’t try fill out all the expectations be the way you are and accept that. God made no errors. 

Loving oneself is not about from self-adoration or narcissism, which are negative attitudes as they involve placing oneself above others. You can love yourself but not think of yourself as better than others in any way… try it this Valentine’s Day.