Valentine's Day is upon us. Cue eye roll.
I was texting with a friend about my avoidance of all things V-day, phrasing it as "all that yucky love stuff." And she asked me one simple question that totally changed my view of the day. "Why don't you celebrate your love for yourself?"
She was right, of course. Why don't I? Valentine's Day is a day to celebrate love, but that can be any kind of love. Give some of that love to yourself and celebrate it this year.
How do you celebrate self-love? I have a few ideas.
Talk to Yourself The Way You Talk To Your Friends
We're always so much nicer to our friends than we are to ourselves. When a guy or girl blows off our friends, we say things like, "you're too good for them" and "their loss." We spend 20 minutes building them up and making them smile. So, why don't we do that for ourselves? Tell yourself you're amazing, that it's their loss, that others are stupid if they don't see your value. We love the ones who are kind to us.
Adjust Your Posture
Just as our brains and mindset affect our bodies, our bodies affect our minds and attitude. Studies have shown that before an interview or speaking engagement, standing in the "superhero pose" helped improve confidence, and thereby increased problem solving and critical thinking skills. Our posture affects how we view the world and take on the day. Try the "superhero pose" or some other stretch to focus your mind in a new, positive direction. That positivity will shine on other aspects of your mind, including how you see yourself.
Get in touch with yourself, mind, body, and soul. I like to light a few candles, sit on the floor of my living room (where I have more space), and turn on meditation podcasts on Spotify. It doesn't take much time (10-15 minutes) and it relaxes the mind and body to fight the stress that causes negative self-talk, anxiety, and self-criticism. The key to meditation is to turn off our brains and focus on the moment. When we're hard on ourselves, getting out of our heads is exactly what we need to stop the spinning wheel of doubt, or overthinking mistakes made in fourth grade. There are specific meditation exercises for self-love, self-care, and positive self-talk. Try creating a playlist list for those in a Self-Love Playlist to turn to in the moment.
Try a Few Affirmation Apps
Sometimes, we just can't pull ourselves out of our funk and think lovely thoughts. I get it. When we can't force affirmations to the surface, to lift ourselves up, we have affirmation apps to do it for us. Affirmations are confident, positive statements about yourself. When heard on an app or podcast, they act as hypnosis to help us believe what we're hearing and adopt that mindset. For example, an affirmation for writers could be, "I am a brilliant and creative writer." By repeating this to yourself, you'll grow to really believe it - because it was true all along. We just need to hear it from someone else once in a while.
Or Try Self-Love Podcasts
There are so many others that have felt this way, and they're speaking out about it to help people. People write books and/or go on podcast shows to talk about their experiences learning to love themselves. Try listening to them and seeing if their techniques work for you. Everyone learns to love themselves or change what they don't like in their own way. Hearing how others did it can help you find your way.
Turn off your phone for the day. You don't need to see the Instagram posts of your friends who want you to believe their lives are so much better than they are. Unplug and focus on you for the day. There will be nothing pressing that you can't go a day without hearing about, so try muting your ringer to help keep your focus off the phone. Remember, this day is about you.
Do Something You've Always Wanted To
You know that list you have, of things you want to do but don't want to do alone? Pull it out, and do that stuff alone. Life is short; don't wait for a partner or a friend to be free to do something you've been thinking about doing for ages. Go see that movie, go to that museum, have a drink at that club. Enjoy your me-time (safely, when we're permitted to after the pandemic).
Make a List of Qualities You Admire
If all else fails, make a list of qualities in others you like. There is plenty about you to like, but sometimes you just might not be able to see it (even with affirmation apps). So, lean into that. Make a list of qualities you want to possess. Then, add to that a list of actions that demonstrate those qualities. You might be surprised to find you already have some of those qualities. And for the ones you don't, you'll find it's easy to demonstrate those qualities. A task becomes a habit fairly quickly, and that habit becomes part of you are. You are just a few new habits from becoming the person you want to be.
Side note: You do not need to change. You should if you want to, but it's more important to love yourself as you are and appreciate strengths and "weaknesses" instead of striving to change. I put weaknesses in quotes, because I honestly don't believe we have any. Our weaknesses are extensions of our strengths, they're just not being used in our daily lives the way we're meant to use them. For example, I'm hot-tempered (self-proclaimed hot-head). And in the right situations, that is useful. This quality helps me to protect people I care about, and stick up for them and myself. While there are many situations where I should sit down and stay quiet, there are plenty these days where standing up and speaking out is more needed. Embrace your "weaknesses" and find the right situations to let them loose.
Happy Valentine's Day. Drop me a comment and let me know what you have planned. Keep following my blog for more feminist diatribes about self-love.