Be Your Own Valentine

-by Angela B. Touchton, Project Manager, Graduate Intern

It’s February.  If you’re like most, you’ve already waved goodbye to your New Year’s resolutions and set your sights on Valentine’s Day.  Are you planning something big for your significant other?  Are you single and hoping the 14th flies by as you drown your sorrows in heart-shaped chocolates and Netflix?  Or maybe you’re one of the lucky few who couldn’t care less?

Regardless of which category you fall into, it’s a safe bet you’re not spending Valentine’s Day focusing on yourself. But why not?  Truth be told, Valentine’s Day is an excellent chance for self-reflection.  After all, it’s an entire day dedicated to love, and learning to love yourself is the first step in properly loving, or being loved by, anyone else. Two things that will be invaluable in aiding you along this journey are increased self-awareness and positive self-talk.

Self-Awareness.  “Know thyself.” – Socrates.  When you woke up this morning, how did you feel?  How did your body feel? Did you notice all the different sensations running throughout it?  Did you pay attention to the first few thoughts that popped into your head?  Being self-aware may seem simple enough. However, it takes real time and effort. Think about a typical day.  How much time do you spend at work, taking care of your children, taking care of your home, interacting with others on social media, etc.?  It takes hard work and discipline to consciously focus on yourself.  Let’s look at a few steps you can take to begin to develop true self-awareness.

  1. Carve out time in your day for self-reflection. Ask yourself questions like:
  • “What makes me happy?”
  • “What makes me angry?”
  • “What am I feeling right now?”

As you begin to make this part of your everyday routine, really reflect on where you have been in your life and where you’re going. Practice being kind to yourself in regards to past regrets, and take real pride in your accomplishments, no matter how big or small.

  1. Keep a journal. Daily journaling is an excellent way to keep account of your life. Journaling can aide in working through your issues, accurately remembering past events, and seeing just how far you’ve come. Your journal is also a great place to dump everything you’re thinking, maybe leaving it there for a while until you’re ready to deal with it. There are great journaling websites, such as Penzu.  Some people even use public blogging sites for journaling purposes.
  2. Spend less time on social media. In fact, why not spend less time on your phone in general? Electronics have certainly enhanced our lives, but overuse can be detrimental to our relationships, not only with our loved ones, but with ourselves. It’s fine to use social media in moderation, just be careful to let yourself experience real life as well.

Positive self-talk.  When is the last time you listened to how you speak to yourself internally? Are you kind, or are you condescending? Do you build yourself up, or do you tear yourself down? Many of us tend to be our own worst critics. Research shows that positive self-talk can do everything from influencing the outcome of sporting events to reducing PMS symptoms.  Examining our self-talk and eliminating the negativity will help us increase our self-love, as well as our love for others. Use the next week or so to really tune into your self-talk. Determine if it’s positive or negative. If it’s negative, come up with a game plan to turn that negativity into positivity.  For example, let’s say you got a speeding ticket.  As soon as the cop pulls away, your self-talk could sound a little like this: “I’m so stupid.  I knew the speed limit was 45mph, so why was I going 65mph? I’m an idiot for not seeing that cop!  How am I going to pay for this ticket? Why can’t I do anything right?”  Can you see how this type of talk can make a bad situation even worse?  But what if you said this, instead? “Dude, I wish I wasn’t speeding.  I knew the speed limit, but I wasn’t paying attention.  I’ll have to be more careful from now on. At least that cop was nice and reduced my mph so my ticket isn’t as bad as it could be. I guess I got lucky today.” Positive self-talk is imperative for improving your life perspective and wonderful place to start with self-love.

Here’s to your best Valentine’s Day yet!

If you are ready to spend time working on a better relationship with yourself but need help getting started, we’re here for you!  NHCS (606) 584-7055

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