Many of my single clients express dread when Valentine’s Day looms: cards in shop windows, adverts on TV, loved-up couples in restaurants are all unwelcome reminders that they are alone and without that special someone in their lives. If this rings true for you, then how about spending this Valentine’s weekend practising the art of self love for a change?
It’s often said that no-one can really love us until we first love ourselves, but what does this really mean? What I notice about many of my clients who are struggling in unhappy relationships, or who are single but wishing they could meet someone, is that they are often highly self-critical, or that they value themselves so little that they are prepared to accept being treated badly by others.
There are many and varied reasons for low self-esteem, and exploring these within a counselling relationship can be very beneficial and help people to learn to trust themselves, become more self-confident, value their own opinions and become stronger and happier (all of which makes them much more attractive as potential partners, and much more likely to choose someone who is going to treat them well too!)
If you’re feeling down on yourself, and dreading the arrival of Valentine’s day, here’s some great ways to shower yourself with love:
- Indulge yourself in something you really love – it could be leaving your chores and walking in the sunshine; watching a favourite DVD; a soak in a lovely bubble bath; a little retail therapy; getting lost in a great book etc – whatever it is really luxuriate in planning the treat and savouring every delicious moment. Put aside any guilt or nagging voices in your head telling you you haven’t got time, you should be doing something else etc, etc, and remind yourself this is a Valentine’s present to yourself.
- Arrange to spend time with someone who makes you feel good. Someone positive and upbeat, who loves you and won’t be critical or negative. Choosing to spend time with people who bring us down is not an act of self-love.
- Cook something delicious just for you – a warming casserole, a gooey cake, a lovely crunchy, colourful salad – whatever gets your juices going, and remember to think loving thoughts about yourself while you are cooking so the food is full of loving energy! Lay the table, have something nice to drink, and make a fuss of yourself as if you were an important guest – you are!
- Put on your favourite music and clear some clutter out of your life – sort out your wardrobe, office, garage, wherever feels muddled, and make your living space more attractive to you so you feel happier being in it.
- Buy yourself a gorgeous, fragrant bunch of flowers
- Book a massage, or some other kind of relaxing treatment
- Do something nice for somebody else – spreading a little love around will make others feel special and has the added benefit of making you feel good too – See random acts of kindness for inspiration
These are just a few ideas to get started. Try not allow yourself to indulge in a single negative thought about yourself – just for one day! If a self-critical thought comes, consciously push it away and replace it with something positive. It takes practise, but imagine talking to yourself as you would talk to a friend or a little child i.e. warmly, gently and kindly. There may be some changes you need to make in your life, but they can all wait; today just love yourself unconditionally. Happy Valentine’s Day!