As someone who has spent a lot of their life without a significant other, I’ve always found Valentine’s Day an odd experience to say the least. Often times it’s an unwelcome reminder that I’m on my own, that I don’t have anyone to share my life with at the present time. It’s like having someone point a finger at a hole in your life. Other times I just try and ignore it and pretend like it’s a non-event.
This year though, I’m trying something different…
A bit of background… the past year to 18 months have involved a lot of transformation for me. A large part of which has been about changing my self-image… how I see myself. There has been a lot of healing, and I mean a lot! Although over the years I’ve done an enormous amount of work on myself, and invested in a huge amount in personal learning and growth, there’s always been something missing. Like a piece of the puzzle that I was yet to find/fit into place.
I was always aware to some degree, that on many levels I didn’t like myself very much. I’ve given myself a hard time for not being enough, successful enough, fit enough, smart enough… you get the picture. Many of us battle the ‘not enough’ demon in our lives.
As I delved deeper into this particular issue I could see many roots to it: an almost non-existent relationship with my father, not really fitting in a school, battles with self-belief and self-doubt, business struggles, being single for most of my life… I could go on… but it just was what it was, and that was how I felt. Self-loathing had become normal (and it was keeping me very stuck!)
Seeing Myself Through New Eyes
Whilst on the outside, many things in my life would have looked pretty good to most people, on the inside I felt like I hit rock bottom in late 2017 and so began the year (and a bit) of deep change.
I was fortunate enough to have the support of a couple of great friends and colleagues who have been my lifeline over this period, and was ready for many of the ongoing struggles I’d been experiencing to be over, and so the journey home to myself began…
And a journey it has been! There have been many threads to creating the change that I was seeking, but the one that stands out and was most significant in this regard,has been doing some of my best work. I had the great pleasure of taking two clients through my VIP programmes last year, and the shifts they made, and results they got from my work, were a huge catalyst for me starting to see myself, and my work, through new eyes. The feedback I received totally reshaped how I saw myself – it was like someone demisted the glass and I could suddenly see clearly. See myself clearly. For certainly what felt like the first time in a very long time, and perhaps the first time ever.
It was like I got myself back. I reconnected to the real me. What I love. What I stand for and care about. It’s an experience I will never forget and will be eternally grateful for.
My Invitation to You
So this year I’m trying something different and making Valentine’s Day all about me! A date with myself. I’m taking time to reflect, to connect with myself, and what’s important to me. And to celebrate and treat myself!
My invitation to you, on this Valentine’s Day, is to do the same! To make a date with yourself and take some time to work on the most important relationship in your life – the one with yourself. I invite you to fall in love with yourself today, and every day.
Buy yourself a present, cook yourself something nice, drink a glass of champagne and toast yourself… whatever appeals to you.
With that in mind, here are a few simple exercises to get you started on the journey to deeper self-love:
Acknowledgements and Appreciations
Grab your journal, or a notebook and just start writing. Begin with this heading, and then start with 3 things that you appreciate about yourself, and/or acknowledgements of your strengths/positive characteristics.
Then add a few more, try and expand it to 10, then squeeze out a few more for good measure. It is Valentine’s Day after all.
Celebrations and Gratitudes
Then add this heading to the next page and repeat the same exercise, but focusing on things you are grateful for in your life, of want to celebrate (no matter how small).
Again, begin with there. Then stretch yourself to get to ten or more.
Now, to really make some deeper lasting change in your relationship with yourself, make both of these exercises a daily practice!
Lastly, find a mirror and take a long hard look at yourself. Yes, you might cringe, but do it anyway.
For most of us, sitting in front of a mirror and facing ourselves is difficult at first, so we call this process mirror work.
But as you continue, you become less self-critical, and the work can turn into mirror play. Your mirror can become your companion, a dear friend instead of an enemy.
- Give yourself a few minutes to allow all the usual self-image stuff to fade. Allow the monkey mind to quiet and just look with curiosity at the person looking back at you.
- Reflect on the appreciations and acknowledgements that you wrote in your journal. See that person in the mirror. Allow those acknowledgements and appreciations to really sink in. See yourself through new eyes.
As you continue to do your mirror work, these seeds will develop into new, healthy habits of mind that open the door to a more loving and compassionate relationship with yourself..
Doing mirror work is one of the most loving gifts you can give yourself. It takes only a second to say, “Hi, kid,” or “Looking good,” or “Isn’t this fun?” It’s so important to give yourself little positive messages throughout the day.
The more you use mirrors for complimenting yourself, approving of yourself, and supporting yourself during difficult times, the deeper and more enjoyable your relationship with yourself will become.
Make Every Day and Act of Self-Love
The final paragraph from my favourite inspirational passage, The Invitation, sums this up perfectly:
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself, and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.
What will your answer be?