The day of love. Hallmark or not, even as badass women, the holiday evokes some kind of feeling from all of us. Whether you cry when your father leaves you a voicemail in an attempt to make you feel better because he got sad at the thought that you don’t have anyone on Valentine’s Day (yes, I’m still waiting for this phone call again this year.. thank you Dad for your thoughtful effort) or you wake up early, giddy because you can’t wait to surprise your lover with the gift you’ve schemed up. Regardless, this day doesn’t go ignored.

However, today my feisty friends, I started viewing St. Valentine’s special day quite differently. I have decided that I am choosing to love myself the way I love someone I’m in-love with.

That’s right. I’m going to fall in love with myself. Now before you get all judgy on me, this isn’t a conceited, take “selfies” of myself all day kind of love (puke). Allow me to explain.

Not too long ago I was in a wonderful yoga class when I had a moment of “holy crap, I get it.” Very zen, I know. But there were several things that lead up to this “ah’ha!” light bulb. First, the energy in this specific class (Yoga to the People) is so giving and inspiring. Basically, badass soul brotha and sistas unite.

Second, prior to my epiphany, we were in a strenuous pose for the third time (chair-pose for you yogis out there). And as everyone’s thighs are burning and it is showing on our faces, the instructor says something to the affect of “now take this energy you’re feeling to stay grounded and send it to someone who needs it today. Maybe it’s someone special in your life, maybe it’s the person you flipped the bird to who cut you off this morning or maybe it’s yourself.” Immediately dismissing her suggestions, I knew I wanted to send it to my momma, because, well, I think she deserves the world. But I didn’t even THINK of myself (and I hadn’t flipped the bird.. yet).

Now several minutes later, I’m laying on my mat as we are in a the few final poses of class, which are very relaxed. And I suddenly start… crying. Yep, I’m that cool person crying next to you in yoga. You’re welcome. But it just hit me all at once: What if I could love myself the way I love others? Now I know, I’ve heard it before, “love yourself.” But what would it be like to truly be in love myself? Treat myself with compassion, kindness and understanding. Give myself a break the way I do others. Instead of beating myself up because, well I seem to find a million different reasons, what if I truly adored myself the way I’ve adored men I’ve been in love with? Believe in myself and encourage myself the way I do for the loved ones in my life. Wow. That could be pretty wonderful, huh?

Still resistant to the idea? Think of it in relation to the instruction you get while waiting to take off for a flight. The flight attendants are describing that in the very rare event there is a loss in cabin pressure (aka the plane is crashing) they instruct you to first put on your oxygen mask and then assist those around you. That’s right, even before your children. Because if you pass out trying to help others, including your children, you’re pretty much useless.

So if we take care of ourselves first, love ourselves fully as if we are in love with ourselves, imagine all the good we can do for others. Imagine how much more love we can give to others if we are full. It’s limitless!

Thankfully, I’m surrounded by a beautiful group of people right now and one in particular is leading me on a journey of healing. Literally the day after my yoga class, we talked about self-love (there are no coincidences). So this concept, although I’m working on it, is something I am truly accepting.

And I challenge all of you strong, independent women to embark on this journey (because it is a process that takes work) and give yourself permission to genuinely fall in love with yourself. Just try it out. See how it feels. Stop yourself mid-beat-myself-up-session, and treat yourself the way you would a dear friend, a lover or a family member. Go look in the mirror and say “I love you!”

Love your beautiful, strong, badass self and know you are taking a step towards being a happier you. Which the world not only wants, it needs.

Happy Valentine’s Day from us to YOU.

With love,

GFB Bree


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