Self-love isn’t usually what comes to mind when you think of Valentine’s Day. All the messages we get from TV, magazines, social media are all pushing romantic love. Let’s turn Valentine’s Day upside down and focus on self-love instead.
The way you treat yourself shows others how you expect to be treated. Your partner will not bring you happiness, they will simply reflect your happiness.
Self-love isn’t narcissistic or selfish. “If the oxygen masks come down, place one on yourself first, THEN help others” we hear on every airplane flight.
Self-love is a journey. Like any habit, it takes practice, practice and more practice!
Self-care practices that I LOVE:
Gratitude When we connect with gratitude our brains produce dopamine and serotonin, the happy hormones found in many popular pharmaceuticals. A really easy way to start this practice of gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal by your bed and write down 3 (or more) things you are grateful for every morning. What a great way to start the day!
Write yourself a love note! You’d be surprised at how good it will make you feel! As Buddha once said, “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” You can write it on nice stationary or send yourself a card in the mail. You could write yourself love notes with a dry erase marker on the mirror in your bedroom or bathroom.
Give yourself permission to NOT do something that really don’t want to do! Many of us are “people pleasers”; often doing things we don’t want to in order to get approval from others. All that does is make you feel disempowered. Give yourself permission to say “No, thank you” to the next gathering you are invited that that you don’t want to go to! Instead, plan something that will really feed your soul.
Pay it Forward with a Random Act of Kindness What? You may be thinking that benefits others – exactly!! When we give to others, whether that’s a smile, a gift, a donation…. we feel good inside! I call it a DOUBLE BLESSING of LOVE!
Celebrate every day. Eat pizza off your fine china, wear that special scarf, drink your morning orange juice from a champagne flute, put on that special dress just because it makes you feel good!
Practice self-compassion. We say things to ourselves that we would never in a million years say to someone else! Stop beating yourself up with cruel self-talk. An easy way to begin breaking this pattern is when you find yourself judging yourself harshly, hold up your hand like a traffic cop, and say “Cancel/Cancel” and say it in a more positive way. Example, if you say “I’m so fat and ugly”; stop, say “Cancel/Cancel” and perhaps, “I’m heavier than I want to be – maybe now is the time to find ways to get healthier.” Do you see how this allows for more possibilities for growth and change?
Research shows that those who practice self-compassion experience less anxiety and depression, are more optimistic and more likely to stay on track with behavior changes like diet and exercise. Could lack of self-compassion be why 80% of people fail with their New Year’s Resolutions?
Surround yourself with people who love and support you, people who make you feel good! There’s a saying that we are the sum total of the five people we spend the most time with. That goes for online as well and in real life! Unfriend and unfollow anyone on Social Media who isn’t lifting you up! There have been studies at Stamford and UCLA that show that when women are stressed and they spend time bonding with their friends , their bodies produce oxytocin – the “love hormone” or “cuddle hormone.”
A great way to surround yourself with people who love and support you is to attend a Galentine’s Day party. It was created by Leslie Knope, a character on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” 10 years ago and is celebrated on February 13th. It’s a day to get celebrate your lady friends (single or not) and kick it breakfast style – waffles, frittatas and so on. If you don’t want to host your own, do a simple Google search. I found 3 Galentine’s Day parties open to the public in my home state of Connecticut.
When we let go of the idea of “the perfect Valentine’s Day”, and begin to focus on self-love, it frees us to take action and make Valentine’s Day work for us on our terms.
I’ll be sharing these ideas and more on @NBCCTLive Monday February 3rd!
Originally published on StephanieDalfonzo.com