February is the month of St. Valentine’s Day, a day which traditionally is all about romantic love, but I’d like to talk to you about the importance of self love.

The truth is, before you can develop a truly happy, healthy, romantic loving relationship with a partner, you need to learn how to develop one with yourself.

No baby comes into this world not loving itself. We are all born knowing how loveable we are but over time, most of us absorb negative messages about ourselves (spoken and unspoken) from the influential people in our lives.

Up until the age of six or seven we don’t question those messages, they just go in and as a result we begin to doubt ourselves and compare ourselves to others. We may start to feel that we’re not clever enough, not pretty enough, not slim enough, not interesting enough, not fun enough, not cool enough…

Just ‘not good enough’.

These negative childhood messages turn into limiting beliefs, which lead to low self-esteem, lack of confidence, fears and anxieties, and prevent us from achieving our goals and desires. Over the past 20 years as a therapist, I’ve discovered that at the root of most people’s problems and issues, is a deep-rooted lack of love, value and respect for themselves.

On average, we have around 65,000 thoughts a day and for most people, many of those underlying thoughts are negative. Your ‘Inner Critic’ may repeatedly be telling you things like People won’t like you, You’re rubbish, It’s best not to try – you’ll only fail, You’re an impostor and you’re going to get found out, You just don’t have what it takes…  If any of these phrases sound familiar to you, it’s time to release those limiting beliefs.

It’s time to begin to grow your wings and learn how to F.L.Y. – First Love Yourself!

To help you do this, I’m going to share with you a very effective technique known as ‘The Thought Stopping Exercise’. Find yourself a rubber band and pop it on your wrist, then every time it catches your eye, just pause and notice your thoughts. Whenever you catch that voice in your head beating you up, criticising you or telling you that You’ll fail, ping the rubber band and command it to stop, then replace those old damaging negative thoughts with new positive affirming ones like I am good enough!

If you repeat this each day over the coming week, you’ll very soon notice that you are beginning to speak more kindly to yourself and taking control of your mind, rather than allowing it to control you. As you release the weight that’s been holding you down, you will set yourself free to F.L.Y.

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