According to Greek mythology, Narcissus (Nárkissos) was a handsome youth who never valued the people who loved him, even to the point of being cruel to them. When the gods saw that he had rejected the love of a nymph named Echo, they were furious and cursed him so that he would fall in love with his own reflection.

Narcissus then because obsessed with himself, continually gazing at his own reflection in a pool of water. Unable to leave the beauty of his reflection, Narcissus lost his will to live. He stared at his reflection until he died. The term narcissist is derived from this myth.

The theme of this post is self-love…  Need I say not in a narcissistic way, but love that is experienced as a core-deep connection and appreciation for oneself.

We cannot gain such genuine self-regard by looking at the surface of ourselves and our lives. That would be like Narcissus looking only at the surface of the water. We must learn how to care much more deeply and authentically about ourselves and our lives.

In my counseling practice I work with a lot of caregivers, from psychotherapists and counselors to medical doctors, teachers, parents and “public servants.”

Like so many giving souls, they often feel like, “I’ve been caring for everyone else in my life for so long now, I’ve forgotten how to take care of myself.” 

So how do we begin to truly take care of ourselves? By looking within, and asking a very private, but pivotal question: What is it that I need?

Well? What do you need? A lot of things might come to mind, but I’ll just cut to the chase and give you the answer, since it’s the very thing we all need…

Self-love and self-care.
They are not selfish. They are necessary. And a little self love goes a long, long way.

We can’t possibly love those in our lives who genuinely deserve our love if we are not giving from the overflow of great love that we already experience for ourselves. Anything less than this is self-sacrifice and that is not loving to ourselves or to anyone else.

Here are some powerful ways to love yourself…

  • Make time and space to nourish your body, mind and soul with delicious, whole, lovingly prepared foods.
  • Enjoy water – There are multiple ways to do this. Drink fresh clean, filtered or spring water, acknowledging what a miracle it is to have water be so readily available to you. Make your own brand of “holy water” by blessing it! Take a long, luxurious bath. If weather permits, play in the ocean, under a waterfall or in a river. Float on your back in the sun’s sparkles on a lake.
  • Take a break from a particularly “crazy schedule” by sitting in the sun, inside by a window or out on the grass or park bench.  Or read a great book, while you sip some tea.
  • Call or meet up with a dear friend you’ve been too busy to connect with.
  • Allow others to pamper you by getting a massage, some body work, reiki or a facial.
  • Go for a walk, do some yoga or just sit and breathe.
  • Star gaze, moon gaze or cloud gaze.
  • Love a pet (yours or someone else’s).
  • Be with people you love – without any agenda – just the intention to show up with appreciation and love.
  • Listen to great music or an inspiring talk.
  • Look in the mirror, deeply into your eyes and say it… “I Love You” until you really, really, really mean it.
  • Laugh out loud.
  • Create something (wild and wonderful – as if no one is watching!)
  • Write a Love Letter to yourself and remind yourself of all of the many reasons to be grateful.
  • Dance or Wiggle Wildly.
  • Smile at yourself and at everyone you see.
  • Just Be (You are the gift!)

As Valentines Day approaches, get into a serious, committed relationship. With yourself! And you will truly find the love of your life.