Published in the October/November issue of Sweat Equity Magazine.
Stephen Stills’ 1970’s release “Love the one you’re with” was his first solo and a big hit. Hippie hearts all over the world were soothed by lyrics that reminded us how the “grass is always greener,” to stop searching for something you don’t have, and to be content with the way things (or your mate) are. His message has a nice yogic ring to it, doesn’t it?
I’ll be the first to revolt against anything that smacks of “settling,” either in life or in love; but being a Stills fan myself, I’ve opted to read a deeper message into the tune: Love the one you’re with because that one is YOU!
With its Cinderella obsession and search-for-a-soul mate storylines, Hollywood has sold us a raw deal: the illusion that romantic relationships are always blissful and that without being in one, you’re somehow not whole (do “You complete me” and “How can I live without you” ring a bell?). The fact of the matter is, there is only one person with whom you will spend eternity, and you won’t find them on Match.com or perusing the sweet peppers in the produce aisle at Loblaws. Take a look in the mirror. This is the person most worthy of your time, love, and investment.
Here are 9 ways to nurture your relationship with yourself:
1. Swap the To Dos for a list of Ta Das! Write down 5 things you did today that were awesome. Don’t forget the small stuff. Did you wake up early? Meditate? Read an inspiring book?
2. Buy yourself flowers. Once a week or so purchase a beautiful bouquet of flowers, for you, from you, for no reason.
3. Spend a day couch surfing, Netflix binging or indulging in your favorite unproductive pleasure—without an ounce of guilt. Enjoy every minute.
4. Make a gratitude list with a twist. List 10 reasons why you’re happy to be you.
5. Enjoy a night of pampering. Apply an all-natural facial mask or scrub. Condition your hair with hot coconut oil. Brew a cup of tea or sip on some wine while painting your toes.
6. Go to bed EARLY, as early as your schedule allows. Take naps when you can. You cannot overestimate the healing capacity of sleep.
7. Tune in. Spend time reflecting, journaling, or being otherwise creative. Turn off the cell phone and computer, just as you would for a new lover who has your full attention.
8. Do some restorative yoga. Get a bolster, a blanket, pillows, blocks, and other relaxation tools. Light candles and put on soft music. Enjoy the healing benefits of a self-guided restorative practice. If you stay in one pose for 30 minutes, all the better!
9. Go on a date. Alone. Maybe that means coffee at a lesser-known café or used bookstore; perhaps it’s a shopping trip, visiting a winery, or dining at a little bistro. Envision a romantic getaway with your “dream date” and then make it happen. Don’t rely on someone else to make your dreams come true.
Only when we get that we already have everything we need to be happy, only then can we give – and receive – true love.