Love the One You’re With

by Madeleine Hawks

Valentine’s Day is a great day to talk about the most important of loves: self love! For me, self love has two meanings. First, it signifies love of your body and your mind, because listening to your own body is essential to your health (wellness). But also, it means to respect yourself by doing the things you love, to nurture habits of happiness (ritual).


I think self love is about becoming an expert on your body and respecting its needs.  If your body is a temple, what is laid at its altar?  A stressful schedule? Too many cookies? (I’m eagerly nodding “yes”) You are your best advocate for yourself. By being mindful of your needs, you are practicing self love. You only get one body, so I figure: love the one you’re with.


In my somewhat tumultuous experience as a nanny, I found that the best gifts you can give a child are attention and ritual. However, I don’t think this is particular to childhood–self love is about prioritizing rituals that make you happy and well. Pay attention to yourself and be purposeful about your own traditions. I’ve always disliked the expression “guilty pleasure”; I don’t think you should be guilty about doing something that makes you happy – do it with panache!

How do I show myself love? My favorite rituals include:

weekend naps

neighborhood walks (yes, sometimes the destination is Spudnuts for donuts)

writing letters to friends

Shakespeare said “Self love is not so vile a sin as self neglecting.” What does self love mean to you? Do you have any rituals of self love? Do share!

6 responses to “Love the One You’re With

  1. Great message! I think we could all be reminded to truly savor the things that make us happy. Perhaps it’s America’s Purtian roots, with its emphasis on minimal ritual and decoration, that causes so many American women to put everything before themselves. I really like the concept of owning my guilty pleasures – and with panache!

  2. Loved the post! My rituals: writing friends, reading, meditation/yoga, eating outside and my newest additions- bike rides & knitting.

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