“I love myself,” the groggy, matted-haired, crusty-eyed, dragon-breath person says, looking at the all-too-familiar reflection like it’s the first time.
At once, we become alive.
A new day has welcomed our presence as if to be reborn.
Gratitude floods our heart.
The pitter patter of thousands of water droplets dive bomb to the floor, begging for us to step in and feel their warm liquid embrace engulf every inch of our bodies.
We step in and immerse our faces in the waterfall of our showerhead, feeling the silky lather run down our torsos, down to our feet to escape the world to a distant land of drains and pipes.
It is the start of our day, and in that acknowledgement of every waking moment, we greet ourselves, and we honor ourselves. We love ourselves.
How much did that cost?
February, appropriately, is American Heart Month, and on the 14th of the month we celebrate love. We extend our love to a family member, a significant other, or friends, with roses of varying colors signifying the nature of the relationship.
But in order for us to fully love others, we must love ourselves.
It doesn’t have to cost a thing, either.
Life’s journey provides 14 powerful ways we can show love to ourselves without utilizing money:
The most important thing we learn from waking in the morning is the silent acknowledgement that we are here. When we calm our minds, empty out what does not serve us, and allow ourselves to be, we feel a rush of our bodies of truly being alive.
Just sit for a moment, eyes closed. Then, take the deepest breath of the day and let it out slowly. When we open our eyes, we see the world as it is, not the background noise of our busy lives. The feeling of aliveness rushing within us is a self-hug. And that presence couldn’t be any more loving. It’s freeing, and it’s 100 percent free.
When we become still in a state of meditation, one of the things that happens is we begin to not only feel a deep sense of connection to our eternal selves, but we also feel connected to every person, place, and thing in the universe. To the trees outside of our window, the cars passing by in the distance, to a mother’s kiss on her baby’s forehead in some far off place across the globe.
We recognize we have an important place in this world’s ecology and we receive the universe’s acceptance of us. We feel a love toward all and we appreciate every living thing.
When we step into a sense of connection to the universe, we reach an expanded awareness of everything in us and around us. It no longer becomes OK to toss trash on the ground, because it is not something we are disconnected from. We care how animals are treated—from pets, to wild sanctuaries, to the clothes we wear, to the food we eat. By loving the world around us, we love the self connected to that world. And that world does not ask us to pay for it to do so.
Once we begin loving the world around us and everything in it, we not only stop harming the earth, we increasingly desire to give to it, too. Whether it is giving our resources to prevent sex trafficking in Southeast Asia, volunteering our time at the local homeless shelter, mentoring a foster child, sending bottled water to residents in Flint, Michigan, to digging wells in Central Africa, we nourish the world with ourselves. In return, the world loves us back with gratitude. Charity’s price is always free when it comes from a sincere, authentic place.
In order to keep up the energy required to give charity to the world, we must continuously refill our cup. We feel refreshed by showering ourselves with free luxury. Free luxury might be filling our tub with soapy bubbles, effortlessly sliding inside, letting the soothing hot water melt us into bliss while bath side candles flicker and incense aroma dances in the inner recesses of our nostrils.
Get moving! Our bodies are machines. In order to maximize performance, maintain a high level of endurance, and operate efficiently, exercise is an active love language to ourselves. A walk, a jog in the park, pushups in the den, running steps, yoga in our bedroom. None of these activities cost a cent, but the return on investment is a fresh mind, great sleep, and a becoming a better lover. And that lover is us…to ourselves.
We believe the stories we tell ourselves. When we actively seek to improve our physical capabilities, we notice differences in how we feel and how we look. When we are kind to ourselves along the journey, we speak life-affirming words creating a pattern of thinking that can only uplift us and make us feel better about ourselves. Phrases like “I am beautiful,” “I am worthy,” “I am powerful,” “I am strong,” “I am loving and loveable,” when repeated enough, are not empty. We begin to believe them. They become part of us. And not only are life-affirming words freeing to our psyche and the limits we may have previously placed on ourselves, we do not need our wallets for them.
When we freely show kindness to ourselves, gentleness emerges. We begin to see others as ourselves, not separate from us, but part of a greater whole. Whether it is a bright smile and a nod, a compliment about someone’s outfit, or contacting the manager at a restaurant give our server praise beyond just a tip, we brighten the days of others. And because we know that person is connected to us, we freely give that warm feeling of giving to rest upon us. That feeling of rest costs us zero to add to the bill and is the best leftover we can bring home with us.
Being kind to our world, others, and ourselves empowers us to make the environments in which we move and work better places. We don’t just accept the culture we walk into like a thermometer, we cultivate and impact it like a thermostat instead. Our work means something. We do not procrastinate. We operate out of purpose, not duty. When we put for our best effort, we love ourselves in ways no amount of money could ever buy. In exchange, we create opportunities for advancement and expansion.
Once we start becoming passionate about our work and being kind to those around us for no other reason than to expand our awareness, ideas bubble to the surface. These ideas do not exist for us to be castle builders, fated to daydream ad infinitum on what could be only for those thoughts to wither into a passing season of regret. Instead, we understand what we envision is beyond us, and the people we have touched and the world around us are there to serve us and we them. In that vein our action loves our dreams, and by fulfillment of those dreams, they love us back. We don’t need money to get started. In fact, starting is its own currency.
A beautiful discovery in life is finding out we are meant to create and build something that outworks us, outshines us, and outlives us. It may be our big dream or goal. It may be raising a family; it may actually be that charitable organization that digs wells in Central Africa. When we value our lives beyond our very existence, we love the present self, the eternal self, and the world that remains after our present self no longer exists. The cornerstone of our legacy foundation is our intentions. The mortar is free, but the blueprint is priceless.
When we are open to building a legacy, our lives no longer feel our own. We feel our lives are a gift to the world, and our hearts a gift to someone else. To love someone else replenishes us. A kiss sends a rush to all parts of our bodies. An orgasmic waltz with the person who loves us back feels divine. The art of coupling is not codependent, but a free expression of our heart when open, returns that openness and awareness of infinite love expression back to us.
We are our own contribution to this world. When we become present, give to it, give to ourselves, and give to others, we empower ourselves to let go of our physical selves. Being free of the fear of death is an empowering state of mind and one of the best ways to love ourselves. We won’t die tomorrow if we feel comfortable passing from this world. In fact, we will begin to fully live. We won’t feel in a hurry or rush to “make things happen.” We accept things as they are. We embrace the journey. We become ever mindful. And we allow great things to come into our lives. It is not the River Styx yet. We don’t need a coin to pass through. We only need to free ourselves to be, and there is no greater love for ourselves than being free.
A full life is found right here in this moment. And seeing the here in the next moment. Doing so touches our lives in immeasurable ways from loving all around us, giving us energy to live an exciting life, pursuing our passions, falling in love, and being free of limiting thoughts. At the base level we are pure potentiality, pure awareness, pure peace, pure happiness. Happiness is the most valuable commodity in the world. It costs freedom and intention to be. Nothing more. What an amazing investment!
Bottom Line: The most valuable things in the journey of life are 100 percent free, yet give the most enriching experiences, touch the vastest spaces of this universe, and open the biggest of doors. As we step into this endless vault, we open the combination for endless withdrawals for us and all who come in contact.