Valentines Day recently got me thinking.... It can bring up mixed emotions, especially if you are single. While it can be referred to as a commercial enterprise for Hallmark that doesn't matter, you can't escape that nearly everyone else in the world seems to be loved up and in coupledom. Whilst I know this isn't true... that 24 hours seems to serve as a reminder that you are not in a relationship.
And what if you are a part of a couple, but perhaps going through a rough patch. Or maybe you have the most loving partner in the world, but they can't fulfil a certain need or loving requirement at the time you need it.
So it got me wondering a lot about Self Love.
How was I going to spend the day - mope around about not having a partner? Hit the bars in the hope of finding my soulmate (highly unlikely), or pour over the dating sites hoping for some kind of validation. All options, and some not always bad ones - however I am sure on that particular evening would have ended in nothing more than disappointment, and feeling pretty hollow.
In the days leading up to the 14th I strategized, if I was going to give myself the best gift I could:
What would it be?
What makes me happy?
What makes my heart sing?
How can I show myself love?
How can I make myself feel beautiful?
And I realized that we all need to be doing this, and asking ourselves these questions on a regular basis.
As they say every day should be Valentine's day. And I agree - we need to constantly be aware of how we can care and nurture ourselves. Give ourselves our own happiness and love, rather than relying on it to come externally.
In the constant rhythm of our days, we can get caught up in others needs rather than our own, forget what makes us happy, and what is essentially us as a person. Especially if you have a demanding job, children or relationship, along with all the other tricky things life throws at us.
However if we don't look after ourselves and our needs, it can lead to us not being able to give to others in the way we would actually like, and it also leads us to have less of a resilience to deal with the challenges life sends us.
I truly believe that we need to recognize that giving ourselves self love should be one of the top priorities.
So what did I do for Valentines Day? I went for a long walk in the morning sunshine before work, I ate my favourite nourishing food, wore an outfit that made me feel sexy, I bought myself a small gift, did some meditation (and visualisation of my future fabulous boyfriend), laughed with a girlfriend. And wrote this article that helps me feel like I am creative, and hopefully giving to others in some way.
I am going to be honest, regardless of all these things, despite a happy morning, hearing of everyone's plans, even if it was just sitting on the couch with their significant other for the evening, made me feel kind of wobbly. It was very tempting to go to the "pitty party"!
However I just kept pushing through. I know the old me would have fallen into a complete hole of feeling desperately sorry for myself, and a lot of unworthiness, that probably would have lasted for days, weeks (or maybe even longer). So while I didn't have quite the serene evening I had hoped for, at least I was able to wake up the next morning with a positive outlook and gratefulness for what I do have.
I know first hand that putting self loving activities into your day when it's frantic is not always possible, or easy to do even if you have the time. It can bring up issues of guilt that "you should be doing more".
However if we can show ourselves the kindness of self care, whether we are in a relationship or single - and not just on "Valentine's Day", it really can give ourselves a stronger base to deal with the world.
So I encourage you to ask yourself some of the questions I raised above... Regardless of the answers, it is a great exercise in learning a little bit about yourself and what brings you some balance, peace and joy. And remember to say I Love Me!
This week I also wanted to share this article which appeared in Goop on "Emotional Erosion" by Dr Habib Sadeghi.
And the TED talk he references is here.
I highly recommend both as an example of self love, and also how our emotions and thoughts effect our health.