We all know Valentines Day falls on February 14th each year. It’s a well-known holiday dedicated to lovers.
But, did you know that February 13th is
International Self-Love Day?
While this day is set aside for us to throw ourselves our own Self-Love party, Christine Ayrlo, author of Madly In Love With Me, tells us that every day is a day to pour on Self-Love. This isn’t just about giving yourself an occasional foot bath, but really going deep into the core of who you are by becoming self-aware.
Christine tells us that Self-Love is about knowing who we are and what we want from this life. It means choosing relationships with people who support us to be the best we can be and live the lives we want. And if they do not serve us in that way, to let them go. Self-love is about about being nice to ourselves, heart, mind, body and soul by treating ourselves with deep respect and not beating ourselves up for our flaws. Living from a place of Self-Love means taking extreme care of ourselves without guilt.
One way I am honoring this upcoming event is to share the things I love about ME. This is not about being narcissistic or vain. It is about setting an example of healthy Self-Love and Self-Esteem. I get that I have flaws and am a work in progress. I am a lovely glob of human evolution. I am open to looking at who I am becoming and ways I can change and grow. A narcissist would not admit these things. I enjoy being self-aware and sharing my whole loopy ride.
So, welcome to the ME that I am madly in love with.
- I love working with groups. I love the interactive dynamics of a group of people talking, playing, singing, corresponding, creating or holding space together. I love the sharing and the feeling of belonging that comes from groups. I love that groups become an agent for change within themselves. I love that there is time for me to listen, attend, observe and not always be talking in a group. I love what I am able to gain from observation. I listen with the ear of my heart. I listen intuitively to words, bodies, energy, flow… I am adept in guiding the course of the group, reflecting back or summarizing when needed. This is a crazy-natural skill I have. I am so comfortable in front of or side by side with many people.
- I love cheering people on. I love to lift spirits; shining a light or holding up a mirror to a person’s worth, goodness and strengths. I love supporting people in their own journey of self-awareness and tooting the horn for them as they grow.
- I love creating and creativity. I am an artist at heart and I so much enjoy setting up activities that allow people to explore their inner selves. Reflective nature walks, soul collage, journal questions, dances and drumming, labyrinth walks, painting… the list goes on and on. This is why I love retreats. They are such a wonderful way for me to bring out my own inner artist and invite others to get in touch with theirs. It’s seeking the soul voice. I love the dynamic of sharing our heart and soul in creative ways. This feels so incredibly natural to me. Inborn; Easy.
- I love ceremony and ritual. Being raised in a devout Catholic family, this came with the territory. I loved the smells and bells from a very young age. I loved the standing, sitting, kneeling and lining up, holding up my hands, sticking out my tongue, genuflecting, wearing head coverings, the repetition of words, the lighting of candles and closing of the sacristy, the meditative silence, the group prayers. Though I am not a practicing Catholic, the reverence and love of ritual and ceremony still lives strongly in me. I love weddings, baby showers and birthdays. I love holiday traditions new and old. I love welcoming and celebrating the rhythms and cycles of nature, and keeping vigil of moon phases and wonderful celestial events. I love all things magical and my imagination and connection with things unseen is lively. I believe in the possibility of things and I invite them into existence.
- I love telling stories. I am an entertaining and theatrical storyteller. I love to talk, use facial expressions, body language, inflections and pauses. I know how to work an audience and keep folks spellbound. I love holding their attention. (Perhaps a little ego in there. ) I love “singing over the bones” so-to-speak. Taking a story and cracking it open; looking at what it all means in a deeper, metaphorical way. It’s about finding meaning to make sense of our lives. I love inspiring others with metaphors and myths. I invite them to explore their own personal stories, decipher their unique gifts and share their discoveries with others. I like setting the stage, showing them how to find and tell or write their own tales. Sharing and turn-taking are also very important to me.
- I love to write. I have a love affair with linguistics. Writing comes so easy to me and it is immensely joyful. I love writing stories even more than telling them. I love how languid words drip from my fingertips. I love how I can make sounds, verses and lyrics clickity-clack and zing from the keys. I love embellishing stories with juicy adjectives that make them taste exquisite. I love blogging or writing newsletter articles, or short stories. I loved writing my story of becoming Deaf and putting it up in chapters on my blog. I was awarded Best Blog of the Year in 2007 by DeafRead because of this story. That was a thrill! An unexpected pleasure. Writing is joyful and deep and rich and fun.
- I have this crazy, uber-talent for coordinating events. My mind and eye for detail is sharp and setting a theme or creating an ambiance is great fun. Logistics come pretty easy for me. I’m a big picture person, but also a detail-oriented person. Clarity and structure are important to me because they give me a sense of confidence and security. I’m a natural leader in this area. I know how to delegate. Not a control freak about it. I can share responsibilities. I’ve been doing this since middle school. It feels natural. I have put on big carnivals, class reunions, family reunions, weddings, parties, fundraisers and retreats. Lots! It’s a crazy-mad skill I have. Stressful sometimes, but I always feel so good when the event is done. I love the feeling of accomplishment. I also love the variety. I like changing things up.
- I love trying new things. I am a risk taker and an extrovert. As a first-born child, going first and testing the waters came with the territory. I am a naturally brave individual and believe myself to be of great courage. I have always been glad to try something out, try it on, get my feet wet. It is how I learn what I love and what I don’t. I don’t fear making mistakes. I have no resistance to going first or setting an example, even if it is a blunder. I welcome change and growth that come from trying something out.
- I love to teach. I like to lead, question, guide, show how, experiment, and shine a light on learning and the learner. I value education, skill building, expanding the mind, the exchange of knowledge. I like being a mentor, sharing wisdom born of adversity or other life experiences.
- I love being open. I rarely have secrets and I love sharing my journey with the world. It is how I get support. It is how I process my development. I share and invite people to witness who I am and who I become. I welcome people to me. I am not heavily guarded. I am open to experiences and change.
- I have a good sense of humor. I enjoy a good laugh, a silly joke, something that makes me chuckle or tickles my funny bone. And I appreciate humor from others, as long as it’s not destructive.
- I am imaginative. The creative universe in my mind is endless. I can make up a scenario and build on it in seconds. I can create anything in my brain. Magic lives there. I am a visionary.
- I love Life! Life is good. I am an optimist and living life to the fullest is my goal. I don’t wait for life to come to me. I go live it! While I love life, I also respect its natural cycles and death is a part of the life cycle. So a natural death is a welcome part of life. Death by one’s own hand is something I simply cannot fathom or digest. Life is a gift!