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Caring for others starts with caring for No.1 first

Loving yourself isn't a luxury; it's a necessity, especially in today's current world pandemic. So, begin by taking care of you first, and most of all, give yourself a break when you fall short. Brush yourself off and get back into it again. Like the lyrics to a famous song once said: "I get knocked down, but I get up again, you are never gonna keep me down."

Photograph: iStock

Text: Lyndsay Jensen

February is the month marketing companies monetise love. If you don't want to buy into the hype of cheesy gifts, and overpriced flowers - why not focus on something different this Valentine's day - YOU! We are often very hard on ourselves - and how do you possibly pass on that love to others if you can't love yourself. So, time to get to work, practise a bit of self-care and much needed ME time. Here are my five best tips for February and beyond:

Become that someone who loves.

If you're in a place today where you don't love yourself, it's hard to take a quantum leap and become someone who does. Instead of loving yourself, focus on being someone who loves. Allow love to flow through you as often as possible. Focus on what you love about the people you meet. Focus on what you appreciate while going to the supermarket, sitting in a virtual meeting, or while having a Facetime call with someone. Simply, adjust your body to positive emotions by finding as many things to love and appreciate as possible.

Stop the comparison game.

Comparison is a killer to self-acceptance. We aren't usually very nice when it comes to comparisons, right? Instead, we take our most significant flaws and compare them to someone else's success. Realise that you can't compare your life to someone else's because no matter how well you think you know them, you never know how they feel or what is happening behind closed doors. Instead, spend your time and energy on nourishing and building your own path.

Surround yourself with people you feel good and align with.

Oh, this was one of my biggest lessons. Think about those people you know who inspire, fill you up, and want what's best for you? Just because you've been friends for a long time, doesn't mean you need to keep spending time together. Just because you're taking a break from someone, doesn't mean you won't be close again. Be picky about who you spend your time with. Be there because you want to; otherwise, don't.

Be compassionate when the going gets tough.

So many of us tend to beat ourselves up when we need to show ourselves a little love the most. When we fail or screw up, or someone rejects us, that's the time we often get harder on ourselves. Choose to be most loving and forgiving with yourself when things don't go as planned. Ask yourself what you need most and then cover yourself with those thoughts.

Accept what you cannot love.

This might have been the greatest game-changer for me. Because let's face it: It's easy to love what you love about yourself and not so easy to love the things you don't. Instead of aiming to love those parts, which will probably just make your mind go "Yeah right!", focus on accepting them. I've had a hard time accepting certain things, and because at times, and for no real reason, I can get very nervous and anxious. I have a sneaky suspicion it might have reared its ugly head during the lockdown. Simple things, such as going to the supermarket, can feel challenging. Instead of rejecting or trying to love this nervous side of myself, I'm reminding myself to accept it. When it happens, I'll tell myself something along the lines of "It's okay, I can be nervous going to the supermarket today. It's not the end of the world." You don't need to love everything about yourself to achieve this; all you need is acceptance.

We hope you enjoy the February issue of The International as it's always made with you the reader in mind. Remember to be fair to each other - but most importantly, be good to yourself.

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