Hello Lovely People,
How are things with you? Isn't it amazing how much stuff can be squeezed into one tiny short month? I got to say, February feels very "busy" somehow, although I seem to get little work done and we still can't go anywhere or see anyone. On the other hand, just like January, society does cram a whole lot of agenda into those 28 days, perhaps especially into one specific day. You know which one I'm talking about, of course.
So how do we feel about this? Sad, cheerful, indifferent, (more) loved up? Me? I don't know. My children love Valentine's Day and I can't tell if that's because it's the first day since Christmas that they get to officially mess about with glitter again, or if it's because they enjoy the extra amount of fancy chocolates that, inevitably, find their way into our house - one way or another. [pro tip: the day AFTER Valentine's all the great, dearer chocolates are reduced in price and there are lots of sweet bargains to be had!] Or, maybe, dare I say it, they really love telling their Mama how much they love me despite being a rather short-fused homeschool-teacher? Even I, more cynical with a well bruised heart, can't help but melt every time a cute, wobbly love letter is pushed under my bedroom door, spreading glitter and joy on a cold winter's morning.
Either way, a lot of February seems devoted to "love" in whatever shape or form it may take. How about, instead of creating artificial divides between the Lonely Hearts Club and the Lovey Doveys, it was more about self-love and confidence to begin with? After all, none of us is truly alone: we have ourselves! Now, if we all made an effort, I bet we could come up with something we love about ourselves or, if that's indeed too hard to admit or spell out in a love letter (to ourselves), at least we could think about something we love, or even something that inspires us, maybe?
All of that is what I want to write about for the month it's in. To me, for example, as I recently posted on Instagram as part of the #makersathome21 challenge, creativity is an essential part of my everyday life. It's stimulating in all the crucial ways to express myself, my thoughts and feelings. Isn't it for every human being, I wonder? That's what I hope to achieve with my creations as well: stimulate different people's minds and add beauty to their lives! At a moment in time where much of our lives is put on hold, creativity is a powerful reminder of what we are nevertheless capable of.
In this way, I find it important to love yourself first, to be as kind and loving towards yourself as possible - even when that's hard and doesn't come natural to you. Trust me, I know what it's like, I've always been my own worst enemy and critic. In recent years, even pre-pandemic, I've come to realise how damaging that is though and am since attempting to mend my ways. It's important to not say anything about yourself that you don't want to become true.
Now, maybe that's just the optimist in me challenging my sometimes cynical outlook or, hopefully, it's a small yet meaningful habit that can be applied daily to make an actual, real change... as in reverse psychology or self-fulfilling prophecy, if that makes sense to you? These days, I often hear people say manifesting, but whatever you want to call it, you get the idea. What I do know for sure is that, personally, I am pushing for a change. I don't want to be holding on to negativity towards myself (or others, for that matter). The confined lifestyle of the past year [nearly a year! it's insane, isn't it!?] has had me tap into a myriad of alternatives... Oh the possibilities of infinite (self)love! Hearing my own heartbeat underwater, for instance, or feeling a strong appetite for life regardless of the imposed restraints... Sensing the limitless love of which we are capable is quite extraordinary. It helps to embrace your own vulnerability and transform it into strength which, in turn, feeds or confidence.
Naturally, our confidence is subject to change or fluctuation, it's a matter of practice as well as a force of habit. The important thing is to not limit yourself by subscribing to whatever others deem appropriate or suitable merely to keep us in our supposed place, according to their standards. Don't let yourself be put into a box of someone else's making! Instead, let's just be. And love. And lift each other up as we go along! There never was nor is there any need to disempower others to feel good about ourselves. Let's believe in ourselves, let's inspire and be inspired by being in charge of our own lives. Let's give ourselves permission to be who we are, to love whom or what we love! Our love in all its forms is our inner compass. Our honesty (with ourselves and others) enables us to lead meaningful, empowered lives.
See yourself not only as the person you've learned and worked hard to be but first and foremost as the one who you truly are. You've probably been that lovable person all along. Acknowledge yourself! Take notice of who that person is, what that person needs. And then go for it! Love is many things but it's not for sale. So give yourself care and time and attention instead. If your personal circumstances allow for it, then extend this to others. Just don't feel like you have to be something or someone that you're not for the sake of anyone else.
Oscar Wilde once said that "to love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance" and I think he's been on to something. It's up to ourselves to make this more than just a now quite commonplace bon mot though. By all means, pick those flowers or write a card if it makes you (or someone else) happy but don't make it "just" about that. Fill these gestures with meaning and make the loving true for yourself to begin with. I love receiving pretty flowers but that has never stopped me from buying (or picking or planting) my own when I felt like it. If I want fancy chocolates, then I get them on any day I see fit. The same goes for jewellery or anything else traditionally associated with Valentine's, by the way.
After all, it's just one day, in a short, cold month. That shouldn't define how any one of us feels about ourselves, particularly not in the times we live in right now. There's enough love for each and every one of us, always!
With this hopefully comforting thought I send lots of love and care your way, wherever you are. We'll get over this, too.