Love is a tricky thing. With Valentine’s day coming up there is a lot of love in the air. Added to that, a lot of loneliness. Traditionally, we celebrate the day as love for family and significant others. But not everyone finds it to be a day worth celebrating. I spent 25 years worth of Valentine’s days watching my friends get roses, chocolates, dates, rings and more while I just waited in the wings wondering “why not me?”. I detested this day. I felt like a loser, alone, and all the insecurities I battled on a daily basis seemed to just explode.
If only I knew then what I know now.
I used day’s live Valentine’s day as an excuse to hate myself more. I focused on my negatives, my self-consciousness, my self-loathing rather than embracing my positives. My mind was so wrapped up in what I didn’t have, that I forgot all the things I did have. I wasted an awful lot of energy throwing an awful lot of pity parties for myself when I could have been out enjoying life.
Is your pity party dance card full?
Here’s a challenge for you. Even if you have the world’s greatest spouse, family, friends, I would challenge you to take this Valentine’s day and focus on you. Take a few minutes, stand in front of the mirror and have a good, long heartfelt conversation with yourself. If you’ve been feeling down, focus on something you’ve accomplished recently or something that makes you happy (I like to think of photography and how happy it makes me to go out for a few hours with my camera and just observe and shoot pictures). If you’re feeling guilty about New Year’s resolutions long abandoned, eating plans ignored or workouts skipped, forgive yourself. If you’re in a place that you don’t even want to look at yourself in the mirror, do it anyway. You don’t have to say anything or think anything. Just look.
In order to love others, we must love ourselves first. Treat yourself the way you would treat others. One rule I’ve implemented in my life is that if I don’t want my son saying something to or about someone else (like “Stupid” or “Dumb”), I am not allowed to say or think it about myself. Don’t let a date on the calendar be a mark of your worth as a person because you are worth so much more than that.
Enjoy this season of love. I know I will be. Not because I have a husband or a child, but because I have a reflection in the mirror of someone who beneath it all, is pretty darn awesome!