Love is in the air in February. This is the month when romantic love is celebrated through gifts and

extravagant displays of affection. As a single person, especially one with the desire for a relationship, it’s

easy to feel isolated or not good enough when you see other people’s relationships thriving. There’s

nothing wrong with feeling some type of way when scrolling through social media and all you see are

what looks like the perfect relationships. We are, after all, made to need love and belonging.

There are so many posts on the internet dedicated to love birds this month, “how to surprise him/her for

valentine”, “Gifts for him/her”, “10 guaranteed ways to spice up your love on valentine’s day” and many

other cheesy sounding topics. This is not one of those posts. Neither is it the usual gospel about self-love

that is rooted in superficialities like retail therapy, bubble baths, and face masks. It’s about radical selflove

and acceptance which demands that we do some inner healing work whether we are single or in a

relationship.

Radical by definition means reforming, revolutionary, or progressive. To radically love and accept

yourself means to embrace your light, own your darkness, heal your wounds, and exist authentically.

What’s so revolutionary about that? So many people struggle to fully love all their complexities; the

good and the bad. So, when you choose radical self-love, you are in essence protesting the universal

definition of what it means to accept yourself and that’s revolutionary!

I know it’s not an easy thing to love yourself wholly. Some insecurities and shortcomings just seem to

never go away no matter how hard you try. It’s even worse when other people remind you of the things

you don’t do well or things about you that stand out like a sore thumb and not in a good way. Society is

ever-changing its standard of beauty, while multinationals bank on what we hate about ourselves, by

giving us temporary solutions to keep us hooked.

Think of radical self-love and acceptance as a way of making a home in yourself. An ideal home is warm

and welcoming. Home is where we are ourselves; flaws and all. Home is where we come to rest after a

long day of being human. Home is a sanctuary of acceptance and never-ending forgiveness. When the

world beats you down, you can always run back home. When you lose your way, you can go back home

to find your true north. Home is everything to us, because there is belonging.

Elements of radical self-love and acceptance are:

1. Self-compassion

Self-compassion.org says self-compassion entails, “Being warm and understanding toward ourselves

when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than ignoring our pain or flagellating ourselves with selfcriticism.”

Self-compassion is about creating a safe space for all of who you are to exist whether you are your best

or worst. There will be days when you feel like a failure or like you are not enough and it’s on those days

that you need self-compassion the most. It’s about permitting yourself to be imperfect and yet… worthy.

Encourage and affirm yourself when you need it and always be kind to who you were, who you are, and

who you are becoming. You can do that by:

Treating yourself like someone you love or like a friend

Try not to shame or judge yourself too quickly

Self-soothe or calm yourself down by caring and nurturing for yourself

2. Self-forgiveness

Positivepsychology.com defines self-forgiveness as, “A willingness to abandon self-resentment in the

face of one’s acknowledged objective wrong, while fostering compassion, generosity, and love toward

oneself.”

You will make mistakes; it’s guaranteed because you are human. What matters is how you treat yourself

when you miss the mark. Forgive yourself for not doing better when you didn’t know any better. Forgive

yourself for the times you’ve betrayed yourself to please others. Forgive yourself for not honoring your

boundaries. Forgive your younger self for the seemingly dumb decisions he/she /they made. Forgive

yourself for the days you don’t get it right. Forgive yourself for your future mistakes because they will

happen. You can do that by:

Admitting that you messed up

Seeing your mistakes as opportunities for learning and growth

Apologizing to people you’ve hurt by mistake or unintentionally

3. Self-validation

Psychologytoday.com defines self-validation as, “Accepting your own internal experience, your thoughts,

and your feelings.”

Validating is about recognizing your brilliance, emotions, worthiness, and owning them. It’s a tool of

self-awareness because you get to listen to your needs, see yourself for who you are, and give yourself

grace through it all. Your identity depends on your ability to validate who you are and your experiences

which gives you a sense of acceptance and belonging with yourself. You can do that by:

Being present with yourself and taking a moment at a time

Acknowledging your success, efforts, strengths, progress, and all you do right

Being honest with yourself about your actions, behaviors, and thoughts

As you embark on this journey of radical self-love and acceptance, remember that it’s a marathon, not a

sprint. You won’t always ride the high of self-love. On some days, you will struggle to recognize the

person you see in the mirror or look for something to love in yourself and not find a thing. That’s just the

human experience. But once you start building the foundation of radical self-love and acceptance, you’ll

find it easy to bounce back when the mean inner voices start getting loud. The revolution starts within

you then it starts to inspire the people around you to treat you how you treat yourself.

“But this revolutionary act of treating ourselves tenderly can begin to undo the aversive messages of a

lifetime.” – Tara Brach