This is the Valentine month, when people express their love by sending valentines to lovers, friends, and family. I am deeply passionate about my relationship with extended family and friends. For me, it is easy to express love to them. But what about loving myself? Sometimes, that can be harder. How would it change your life if you treated yourself as your very own, wonderful valentine sweetheart? I don’t mean eating chocolate every day, which I’m not discounting, but perhaps loving yourself without sweets. I mean being truly kind to yourself.
First of all, I am going to suggest that you acknowledge that your heart is your portable sanctuary. It needs care and feeding. Below are 10 powerful suggestions to acknowledge your heart. Please make time for a minimum of 2 of these per week for the month of February.
- Having fun should top the list of your weekly schedule. What’s your idea of fun? Going to the movies? Heading out to the greenbelt for some down time? Date night with dinner out? Sunset picnic at the park? Visit a museum. Play board games. Play music and dance like crazy, even if you are alone. Get a massage, or exchange one with someone. So many options.
- Write down your successes. Get a journal or notepad and record your accomplishments big and small for each day. I sometimes feel like I got nothing accomplished for a particular day. Truth is, unless very ill, I always accomplish things every day, and I’ll bet you do, too. It may not be what I have written on my to-do list, but it was important in some way or the other. Now, read the list at the end of each week, then reach over your shoulder and pat yourself on the back.
- Practice daily gratitude. Keep a running list, and say three things for which you are grateful either upon rising or at bedtime. I know I’ve talked about this before, but it really is a way to treat yourself. When you remind yourself to stay in gratitude, those little irritants seem to melt.
- Pursue a hobby. If you haven’t thought about this, know that doing something creative will feed your soul. It doesn’t have to come out perfect, nor does it need to be of retail value. Just enjoy yourself.
- Write yourself a love letter, then mail it to yourself. Eeks! Yes, a challenge, and yet so deep and heartfelt that you may just cry. Date it and hold onto it until next year, when you read it again.
- Speak kindly to yourself. I recently heard myself sarcastically saying to myself, “Now that was stupid.” Stop and correct yourself when you hear self-critical, unkind words. Self-scolding or self-berating words will occasionally cross your lips, and if you are paying attention, say, “Now, that’s not true. I’m actually………” Your heart is listening.
- Accept any and all compliments with a big smile and say, “Thank you.” No buts, or disclaimers or explanations. (Remember, when someone tells says you are wearing a pretty dress, and you say, “Oh, this old thing, etc.” you are insulting their taste.)
- Go to bed early and read. It doesn’t have to be non-fiction. If you are not normally a reader, then just buy a book of short stories, and read one or two a couple times per week. That extra relaxation is so much better than watching a stimulating, often distressing TV show.
- Allow yourself some down time each day. Turn off the phone and just take a few deep breaths. Repeat, “I deserve love. I love myself. I also love those around me.”
- Sweet-talk your heart (and any other organ that may need some help). Tell it daily how much you love it, as you stroke the skin over that area. Thank it for its primary help in keeping you alive. Do it daily.