I have not yet found a Hallmark card for Valentine's Day that reads a little something like this:

Roses are Red,
Violets are Blue,
I accept me for myself
And love myself too.

Valentine's Day has always about showing your love for someone else, right?  Or your "like like" for others....I have a teenager in the house, so I'm trying to figure out the different levels of liking someone.  It's complicated.  

The point is that none of that loving or like-liking can happen truly unless we..............yep, unless we love ourselves first.  

And honestly, it makes me so uncomfortable to say it.  Loving myself.  I guess that's because it sounds narcissistic and a little creepy.  But that's wrong.  It isn't either of those things.  It's healthy to love the person you are with all your flaws and scars and to be able to admit that you are pretty great in some ways too.  That's fortunate....and the opposite of creepy.  It's just that it's not something we go around yelling from the rooftops....and that's probably for the best.

So, how do we get to that point in our lives where we can see what our true nature is and are able to be comfortable with it?  The process is one of the five Niyamas of yoga, and it's called Swadhyaya.  Please don't ask me to pronounce it and sound like I throw around the term in Sanskrit every day, because I don't.  However, I can tell you what it translates to mean.  Swadhyaya is the sacred study of the Divine through sacred readings, spending time in nature, and introspection.  

Whoa, you might say.  The Divine?  I am not the Divine.  The Divine is way beyond me.  I am not worthy.

Well, actually you are.  In the study of yoga, we are all a little piece of the biggest picture of all in the universe.  That wholeness is the Divine.  Swadhyaya helps you discover how to ascend to your highest level of being.  That can be interpreted in many, many ways.  And that's for you to decide.  Maybe you see this a religious quest, or maybe you see it as relating to Maslow or one of the great philosophers.  Whatever you see in this is great.  Go with it.  Swadhyaya is much deeper than the gist of this post covers, but for the sake of keeping it light and on the fun side of things, I'm sharing just a little nugget of it.  

Swadhyaya discovery comes in many forms.  Introspection through meditation and journaling, is an example.  Hiking, biking, walking your dog, or going for runs with Mother Nature are some others.  Studying sacred scripture?  Traditional sacred texts are methods self discovery.  I add to that zillions of other books I've read by an enormous range of authors on a dizzying number to topics.  Almost every book I've read has taught me a little something about myself.  Many books have brought me thunderclaps of self-realization.  

Swadhyaya is a Process with a capital P.  It's ongoing, and it's a worthwhile journey for yourself too.  So, go get your Swadhyaya on this week, and send yourself a little Valentine's Day love.