Love is in the air… or at least it’s on the calendar. As Valentines Day arrives this week, you’re bound to be reminded to “be” something or other to express your value (or to feel valued by others). And while this may come as a surprise to some, I don’t know that that message is so bad. We’re generally big on care and compassion. And love, even the commercially promoted version, is perhaps the most common expression of our interdependence; the most human of needs to care for, and to be cared for by, others. Whether your love is focused on a specific someone else or not this week, here are a few ways to show some love to yourself:
So it’s not exactly your first date. I get it; you already know yourself pretty well. Maybe think of it more as a second date – you’re interested and still optimistic. The generic surface stuff is gone and you can move on to interests, ideas, and goals. Take yourself out to a nice restaurant or grab your favorite meal. It’s a date, so don’t be skimpy! Bring a book along if it feels awkward eating alone, but ideally you’d simply be present (You’ll survive, I promise). Whatever you do, leave the smartphone at home. After dinner, catch a movie or go for a walk. Self-care gets you grounded and better prepared to notice and respond to opportunities as they’re presented.
It’s hard to work on loving yourself when you are constantly surrounded by other people. Take a vacation day (if you’re like most workers, you’re not using them all anyway). Hint: this is exactly what they’re for. Make it a real vacation day; no catching up on errands or projects, and for goodness sakes turn off the news. Instead, put on your comfy pants in the middle of the week, order some take-out, and stream some Netflix.
Valentine’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to get back in touch with yourself. Realign your behavior with your concept of who you are by setting some new habits. Journal, meditate, walk, run, or ski. Read a fiction book, take a course, watch a documentary… you decide. The goal here is changing who you are instead of ruminating on changing who you want to be.
Self-compassion is often about forgiving yourself for things you’ve done that you’re not happy with. Whether it’s the way you spend money, something you’ve done that you regret or the amount of time you spend lounging on the couch instead of going to the gym, performing a ritual can help you release your negative thoughts about yourself and start on the road to self-compassion. Write it out, say it to the sky, or lift a glass – and then let it be.