Happy Valentine’s Day dear readers! It’s that time of year again and everyone is talking about roses and chocolates, and romance. While I’m a big fan of sharing the love and being wined and dined, I’m also reminded that being loving to myself is something that I should remember to cultivate all year long.
The terms self-love and self-compassion have become psychology buzzwords in the last decade and have been used most notably by Dr. Kristin Neff, who coined the term “self-compassion” and brought it into everyday conversation (check out her website: self-compassion.org.) Self-compassion does not mean selfishness. It doesn’t mean self-pity, self-indulgence, a high opinion of one’s self or any other such cringe-worthy ego trip. Self-compassion is simply the idea of having compassion for yourself. Treating yourself as you would treat a good friend. Relaxing harsh judgments, giving yourself a break, acknowledging that making a bad decision doesn’t make one a bad person.
While we can’t always find the true love we are yearning for from others, we do have an opportunity to foster the only relationship we have which will never end: the one with ourselves.
When I was recovering from a broken heart years ago, I had a coaching friend who gave me the advice to “date myself”. That attitude helped me recover and find new love, both with myself and with other people.
Today, I’ll be your self-compassion coach and give you some quick tips for learning to “date” yourself.
1. Get ready for your date: Wardrobe and hair are two things that a lot of us sacrifice for the hubbub of family and career. It’s easy to go on autopilot and forget about the thrill involved in putting on an outfit that you love. Take a few extra minutes each day to put on a finishing touch like cologne or perfume or that bracelet that reminds you of a special vacation. It’s a small thing but it reinforces that you care about yourself and that you deserve to have a little romance in your day.
2. Treat yourself: Many times we will spend time and money making grand gestures and buying gifts for loved ones but go without when it comes to ourselves. Treat yourself to a small favor once in a while. Buy a flower arrangement that catches your eye or enjoy a mini-bottle of champagne on a weeknight. If you learn to give yourself a little love, you’ll find you have a lot more to give everyone else.
3. Write yourself a love note: Every night for a week, write down five things that you love about yourself. This is not easy so don’t fret if you can only come up with one thing that is “just okay” about yourself on the first pass. If you keep it up, you will stop feeling silly and start feeling more compassion for the person who is working so hard to be you.
4. Let go of comparison: There will always be people you meet who seem to have it all. We all know they really don’t. Even the rich and famous suffer from broken hearts. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have or what you think you should have, look at what you have that is working well for you and give yourself credit for things you accomplish. The famous life coach Dr. Martha Beck says, “Don’t compare your insides to someone else’s outsides”. Wise words indeed.
Well there you have it, a little trifle for you during this romantic time of year. Whether you love V-Day or you’re waiting for the half-price candy sale, I hope these tips help you to find more compassion for yourself! I’m sending you all of my love, sweethearts!