On this day that modern romantic love is celebrated with hugs & chocolate, hearts & flowers – many of us forget that, in complete contrast, St Valentine is by various accounts supposed to have been stoned, beaten and beheaded or at the very least tortured and imprisoned. I know that love hurts, but hopefully not quite that much!
We are also pretty good at beating ourselves up – perhaps not to the same extent, but not exactly showing ourselves any love, kindness or gratitude. That inner critic keeps us firmly in what we believe is “our place”.
I was working with a coaching client recently who, while working a part-time job, was trying to build up a wellness business. One of her concerns was whether her wellness clients liked her, and how would you ever really know? In the conversation she said that she felt she gave a lot to other people and was always supportive and grateful to them, but felt that she had no support or gratitude from others, except perhaps one family member.
I asked her if she was truly grateful and kind to herself – she said no, that she had been brought up in a family where one of her parents was highly critical, and this voice kept playing in her head. I asked her if she wanted to change that – she said yes I need to be grateful and kind to myself and thank myself for doing what I do. This felt right for her and aligned with her wellbeing practice.
So this year, starting on Valentines Day, perhaps you could cultivate the habit of thanking yourself and showing love and appreciation for all that you do and are able to achieve whether small or big – who knows – maybe this could be the start of a beautiful relationship !
Whatever you call it… self-love, self-care, self-respect…
To quote the poet Justin Bieber… maybe you should go and love yourself…
(and yes I’m aware that “love” replaces another four letter word !).