Valentine’s Day is notorious for making single people feel like crap. (And sometimes rendering those who are coupled disappointed when expectations go unmet or overtures are under-appreciated.)
We’ve all been there. We profess it’s a dumb day for money-making marketers and try to be impervious to the heart-shaped candy boxes suddenly front and center everywhere, telling ourselves things like, “Well, at least I’m not stuck in a bad relationship.”
Try as you might, you still feel bad.
Regardless of your relationship status, what if this February you focus on a more empowering approach: self-love. Is yours where it should be?
Maybe self-love is a new concept for you. So, what is it?
Self-Love is not vanity, selfishness, conceit, or arrogant self-admiration. Rather, self-love is having positive regard for your own happiness and wellbeing. It’s taking care of your needs and not sacrificing these to please others. It’s not settling for less than you deserve.
If the thought of prioritizing your needs makes you uncomfortable then try thinking of it as putting on your oxygen mask first, before helping someone else. Perhaps an overused metaphor, but useful nevertheless. If you don’t take care of yourself, how “good” can you be for others when you feel stressed, fatigued, anxious, frustrated, angry, depressed, overwhelmed or simply burned out?
We cultivate self-love through our thoughts and actions.
More than simply feeling good, self-love is an attitude of respect and appreciation for yourself stemming from thoughts and behaviors that promote your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. When you behave in ways that best support your wellbeing you expand your self-love. You increase compassion for yourself and your capacity to accept your shortcomings along with your strengths. You begin to feel better about yourself and more confident. You mature and become healthier.
Self-love often begins with self-care, the foundation of which is making good choices for yourself. It involves actions that refuel rather than drain you. Whether that means not checking emails at night, or turning down invitations to events you don’t want to attend, self-care – and self-love – involve establishing healthy boundaries. Saying no to or setting limits with people, activities, or behaviors which harm or deplete you.
Self-love will motivate you to continue making healthier choices, from what you eat to who you spend time with. When you hold yourself in high esteem you are more likely to choose actions that nurture not erode your wellbeing.
You may want to start with the basics: get enough rest! Exercise regularly. Eat “right.” Spend time each week on an activity that makes you feel good. Sit quietly each day for at least 10 minutes. Make a list of what and who you are grateful for. Read or watch something that makes you laugh. Phone someone and have a talking conversation!
Stop beating yourself up. Nothing wrong and everything right with wanting to improve yourself, but try to do this from a place of self-acceptance. Apply the golden rule to yourself and be kind to yourself, remembering your achievements and unique positive qualities – or the importance of your role within your circle of friends, family or colleagues – while simultaneously putting effort into whatever it is you want to change.
Valentine’s Day Self-Love
1 – Create a not to-do list of things you do not like or no longer want to do. This may include not spending time with negative people or not working after a certain hour at night.
2 – List the areas of self-care you’d like to improve. Perhaps you want to start drinking more water, get to bed before midnight, or begin a meditation practice.
Please let us know how it goes for you!
Want to research more on your own time? Find more on healthy lifestyle, relationships and mental health on our blog page www.villageinstitute.com/blog.