I know there are lots of mixed feelings surrounding Valentine’s Day, but I’ll take any excuse I can get to inject a little more <3 love <3 in the world, so here goes.

Dear You,

On this Valentine’s Day (and everyday), I want you to know this:

Love is always available to you. It is not a passive experience. Love is an act, one that we must choose to participate in and create, in order to experience it.

This is not meant to make you feel bad about the love you crave. (We all want love!) Rather it is intended to empower you to get more of what you need by reminding you that you are fully capable of having more love in your life right now.

Many people conflate love with the romantic sense of the word. But there are all types of love, and they are all incredibly powerful experiences. However, I’m willing to go out on a limb here and say that the bravest form of love these days is loving yourself.

I can hear the eye rolls from over here. I know this topic has become sort of *trendy* these days, but it has always been true long before it was cool to talk about.

And if we’re being honest here, whether we are talking about love or any other topic pretty much, it always starts with you, with looking within before we point the finger outward.

We’re all expected to be chronically dissatisfied with ourselves – constantly pouring our hard-earned money into one thing after the next in attempts to FINALLY find that sense of love, meaning, and joy we seek. It’s even considered taboo in many communities and families to openly love yourself.

You know the routine:

“I love your hair!”
“Oh, this old thing? I got it for $10.00 on the sale rack at TJ Maxx. I never really wear it because it really highlights my ‘problem areas’ so I appreciate you being nice and saying that.”
*…silence…*

What if we could change this script to:

“I love your dress!”
“Thank you!” or “Thank you. Me too!”

(…And maybe even actually mean it? And not feel guilty for owning it?)

OK, now let’s assume love means trust, respect, kindness, and affection.

I’m willing to bet that you’re probably pretty well-versed in loving other people. Not just romantic love. Love for your parents, kids, pets, friends, etc.

Sure, maybe there are some things you’d like to work on, but for the most part, you know how to express your love for the people you care about most in your life. Would you agree?

Even if not, that’s OK – stay with me here.

What if you knew that your capacity to love and be loved by others was limited to how much you love yourself? (You may or may not agree with that whatsoever, but just imagine for a moment that it is true.)

What would that look like for you? Would you be doing anything different? Or would it look exactly how your life looks now?

My guess is that most of us seriously need to step up our self-love game. That doesn’t necessarily mean spas and pedicures and dinners out (though it certainly could involve that).

Self-love involves practicing trust, respect, kindness, and affection toward yourself. It can be fun, but it also involves some less ‘sexy’ things, like setting and enforcing boundaries, practicing forgiveness, and cultivating mindfulness.

It also involves the recognition that all you need in this moment (and every moment) lies within you. This gives us the freedom to know that you are fully capable of meeting your needs and feel whole.

Once again, I don’t say this to shame you. I say this because I waited for so long for everyone else around me to make me feel a certain way, and it wasn’t until I took responsibility for what I wanted that I began to finally have the experiences I desired.

That doesn’t mean I don’t love some flowers, a home-cooked meal, support and empathy, hugs, etc. I absolutely love being loved and cared for by others, and part of being able to love myself is knowing what support is needed and where I can find what it is that I need. That in and of itself is an act of self-love.

So on this Valentine’s Day, regardless of whether or not it is going as you had hoped, remember that every moment is a chance to take ownership of your life and provide yourself with whatever it is that you seek.

Last but certainly not least, thank you for being a part of the community I am building. Your presence + support warms my heart more than you can imagine.

You’ve got this. <3

As always, feel free to share this with anyone who may find it helpful, and I look forward to hearing how it helps you.

Hugs + Happy Love Day,
Ryann

P.S. If you need some help with this (or other related topics) and are interested in possibly working together, click the ‘Contact’ tab up in the menu, and let’s get talkin’!