When Sandi Morris won the 2018 Pole Vault World Championship, she cleared the bar, fell to the mat, sat right up in exaltation, and then… she curled into a ball, clasped her hands to her chest, and took a quick moment for her own inner joy.
“That woman has a relationship with herself,” I thought, tears touching my eyes.
I have a special Valentine’s Day message for you:
If you want to sustain a loving relationship with another person, then just like Sandi Morris winning the pole vault, you must also pour self love into the mix.
Does this seem like a spiritual platitude? It’s not. Close your eyes right now, and focus on a single breath…
The breath offers a non-judgemental way to pay attention to ourselves, and attention is the primary vehicle of self love. Deep, conscious breaths open the channel that lets love in.
Sufi poet, Rumi, has been telling us this for centuries:
There is a way of breathing that is a shame and a suffocation, and there’s another way of expiring – a love breath – that lets you open infinitely.
When you need love, breathe.
- Say No
This is YOUR life. You get to choose how to spend it. Saying no to one thing means getting to say yes to something else.
Say no at least once a day. You may take a nap instead of running errands. You might say no to a lunch invitation, so you can say yes to walking alone in nature. Say no to taking on a stressful new project. Say no to a second helping of cake. Say no to being hard on yourself…
Self love means prioritizing things that are important and that contribute to your well-being and saying no to things that don’t.
- Take Small Risks
“Don’t hold back!” Lukas said, as I left. Those words boarded the plane with me, and when I had the chance in Cali, Colombia, even though I was nervous and didn’t know the steps that well, I asked Carlos to dance.
Taking small risks is not about the immediate results you’ll get. (That first dance with Carlos was a mess!) It’s about getting in the game instead of sitting on the sidelines of your life.
When you survive a small risk, it unlocks self-discovery, builds confidence, and creates inner trust. Bit by bit, self love grows, no matter the circumstances.
I am not counseling you to be reckless, here! Do not throw caution to the wind or pretend to be someone you’re not, but do push your boundaries in small ways.
- Appreciate Beauty
Beauty evokes the most innocent and honest part of who we are. Be reminded of your deep, natural innocence by seeking beauty.
Observe nature. Take in the arts. Honor craftsmanship and skill. Listen to birds, rain, the wind in the trees. Experience color, shape, sound, texture, design. Build altars. Let your mind expand into the sky; ride the lightning; feel your heart bloom with a flower.
You will find that in communion with beauty, you are lovable, you are good, you are true. Let beauty nurture you, and pour self-love into the part of you that appreciates it.
- Practice Metta
If you only adopt one strategy from this list, make it metta.
Metta practice is like taking a daily, self love vitamin. Translated from Pali, the word metta means “loving kindness.”
The meditation consists of repeating short phrases that focus the mind on qualities of basic goodness. The phrases I use come from dharma teacher Kelly Blaser:
- May I be safe.
- May I be happy.
- May I be free from suffering.
- May I be filled with loving kindness.
These are valid wishes to have for ourselves! There’s nothing greedy or arrogant here. Repeat these phrases to yourself daily. Feel their meaning. Your capacity for self love will flourish.
I don’t know what Sandi Morris does to cultivate the self love she expresses so authentically, but it’s easy to recognize the fruits of her willingness to do so: a life of well-being, joy, and accomplishment.
May you, too, find the willingness to tend the deep-rooted tree of self love in your heart.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
About the Author
Delana Thompson helps spiritually-inclined entrepreneurs express their hearts and expand their influence with authentic copywriting, project management, and professional delivery of their online content. Her clients include teachers and practitioners of meditation, yoga, ayurveda, shamanic healing, astrology, and fine art. When she’s not writing marketing emails or designing landing pages, you’ll find Delana salsa dancing, practicing meditation, planning a trip, listening to a podcast, speaking Spanish, or missing all her faraway friends. Visit Delana on LinkedIn to learn more about her business.