I was making Valentine’s cards with my 5-year-old son, and as he was counting to make sure there was a card for each kid in the class, he casually said, “Oh wait, I need to make one for myself!”
This got me thinking about how infrequently we stop to offer ourselves love and appreciation. In fact, all too often we do the exact opposite and beat ourselves up and put ourselves down.
So this Valentine’s Day, I suggest you take the sage advice of a child and start giving yourself some love and appreciation on a regular basis. Here are three practices for you to try:
Take the time to self-soothe.
You probably know what makes you feel good, but how often do you actually take the time to do it? When was the last time you curled up with a cup of tea and a good book, took a luxurious bubble bath, or stopped to buy yourself flowers?
Often, the effort that seems to be required to pamper yourself can be enough to deter you. Or perhaps you’re like many of the people I work with, who deny themselves a nurturing moment because they don’t feel like they deserve it.
Today I’d like you to overcome those defeating beliefs and do something to create a soothing moment for yourself. If you can’t figure out what to do, try listening to this relaxation exercise.
Stop bullying yourself and watch out for negative self-talk.
Do you think of yourself as a caring and supportive person to others, ready with a kind word for your friends when they are down? I bet you do.
But when it comes to yourself, do you act with the same kindness? Or do you actually tend to be harsh and unkind to yourself? Falling into the unhealthy habit of bullying yourself is all too common—especially when you’re feeling stressed out. (Read this post for tips on reducing stress.)
Starting today, I’d like you to pay attention to how you’re talking to yourself. Be on alert for moments when you put yourself down or say something you’d never, ever say out loud to a friend – or even to a stranger.
There are some common themes of how this shows up, so check out this post to see if you’re falling into any of the pitfalls of negative thinking. Usually just noticing that you’re doing it is enough to get you to stop.
Write a gratitude list about yourself.
I bet you’re going to write a card to someone today (maybe you partner, mother, or sister), and you’re going to tell them what you love and appreciate about them. Now add yourself to that list.
We don’t usually take the time to congratulate or say nice things to ourselves, because, really, who does that?
Well actually, people who are happier and more self-confident write regular gratitude lists. So write a list of what you’re proud of and what you appreciate about yourself, and be specific. And then do this on a regular basis. For more tips on how to make your gratitude list more effective, read this post.
I hope that you take some time this Valentine’s Day (and every day) to love and appreciate yourself – because you deserve it!