Valentine's Day brings to mind images of romantic love, chocolate, champagne and other things that sometimes (okay, often) cause me to roll my eyes. So I usually avoid thinking about that day altogether. But, as a friend pointed out to me recently, the holiday is actually a perfect time to think about self-love.
I'll admit, self-love isn't a concept that I used to be familiar with, so I'll start with the best definition I've been able to find, which comes from Deborah Khoshaba, Psy.D:
Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth.
You all know that I'm all about taking action, so you can guess which part of the definition I tend to focus on. When I think about self-love, I immediately think:
What actions can I take, what practices can I adopt, what routines do I need to reinforce, in order to strengthen this state of self-love?
What can I recommend to my clients to help them build, sustain, and protect their self-love? I've come across a ton of suggestions for what to do to practice and strengthen self-love, but we're all busy people prone to feeling overwhelmed. So I want to make this as easy as possible for all of you. Here are 3 ways to practice self-love this month:
1. Take care of yourself how you would take care of others.
So many of us martyr ourselves for others: our families, friends, clients, colleagues, causes. To paraphrase something I once learned (and that I often need to remind myself of): to want to give to others is human, but to over-give is neurotic. Be sure that you are taking care of your basic needs, rather than always putting others' needs and wants first. This might mean letting yourself sleep more, cooking a nice meal for yourself, making sure that you exercise, taking a bath, scheduling enough "alone time" for yourself, leaving work at an earlier hour. Commit to doing at least one of these things for yourself this week. If you want or need more self-care ideas, check these out!
2. Treat yourself with compassion.
Along similar lines, start treating yourself with more compassion in your daily life. We all make mistakes and poor decisions. We all have blind spots and areas of vulnerability. That's okay. We are human. And we are all doing our very best, given our circumstances. You are no exception ;-) So it's important to forgive ourselves when we make mistakes and compassionately analyze what happened so that we can do better next time. The next time you find yourself beating yourself up over something you could have done differently or better, try journaling to shift the thoughts in your head to being more loving and compassionate to yourself.
3. Say no (those who've been to my Stop Settling in Your Career workshop will recognize this one!).
There are a million things in the world that you could do with your precious time. But only a small set of those things will actually move you closer to your big goals in life. Before you agree to the next assignment, request, or task, take a moment to think about whether you want to say yes because you feel pressured to (hint: it usually starts with, "I should..." or "I have to...") – or because saying yes will benefit you physically, emotionally, psychologically, intellectually, or spiritually. If you feel pressured to say yes, give yourself permission to say no. Practice saying no the next time you find yourself in this situation!
There they are: 3 ways to give yourself some much-deserved self-love this month!
Give them a try and message me on Instagram or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know how it goes!
Sending love :)