I’ve found that it’s loving ourselves… and it’s not easy, it’s hard, sometimes painfully hard.

Valentine’s Day is February 14th and we know this month involves everything and all things to do with love… and usually the focus is on what to buy your special someone– whether it be chocolates, flowers, candy, presents, etc… the list goes on and on. I would like to start a new tradition. Ok, maybe it really isn’t a new one, but I do think it could be talked about more… a lot more.

How about instead, we make this month about YOU.  What I’m talking about is showing ourselves a little more love and appreciation. Love for all that we are, all that we’ve been through, and all we’re becoming.

When I first heard about self-love, my first thought was, “Well, that’s silly, I already love myself.” But when I started seeing it show up a lot more in my life, my questions turned into, “What exactly is self-love?” and “How can I love myself more?”


  • What exactly is self-love?

Self-love is a state of appreciation and compassion for yourself.

Many times I would look for validation from others as a source to feel better about myself, but the exact opposite happened. I felt worse. I wanted the compliments, I wanted people to recognize the good that I was doing, but I didn’t feel any better when it came, because it wasn’t coming from the real me. And I still catch myself doing it sometimes! In fact, my husband would often comment about how beautiful I would look when we’d go out and my response was, “Shut up.”  Yeah, real nice. The thing is I didn’t believe it. It was such a habit that I formed so long ago, that it became an automatic response.  Let me ask you this, have you ever received a compliment on an outfit you were wearing and your response was, “Oh, I got it from Target.” Not thank you, but, “Oh, I got it from Target.”

That’s the first step in recognizing it and becoming aware.


  • How can I love myself more?


-Be mindful of what you think, feel, and want.

-Give up the need of approval from others.

-Pick 3 activities you love to do and try to do them every single day.

-Recognize the negative thoughts you have about yourself and turn them positive.

-Say those positive statements, out loud, looking yourself in the eye, in front of a mirror.

-Eat healthy foods and exercise regularly.

-Enjoy your journey. Stop comparing yourself to others.

-Practice gratitude everyday.

-Name 3 things that you love about yourself.

-Name 3 good things that happened that day.

-Name 3 things that you’re working on.


The goal is to implement and practice all of these things.

For starters, I would suggest picking 3 things that feel doable to you and work on those until they become comfortable. Then, when you master those, add in a few more, and so on.

This is an on-going process and something that will only get better with practice.

What’s one thing you can do right now to show yourself appreciation?

What are the 3 things you’re choosing to implement this month?



Erica Hoese is a wife, mother of 3, fitness & wellness coach, natural figure competitor, and speaker based out of Minnesota.
Her passion is encouraging and equipping moms, with young children who struggle with making time for themselves, how to live their happiest, healthiest, and best life.