Give a Valentine's Gift to Yourself
Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world. – Lucille Ball
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, love is in the air.
I’ve always had mixed feelings about this day. On the one hand, it is the Holy Day of Marketing and Public Relations: according to the website StatisticBrain, Americans spend $13.19 billion on what is basically a made-up holiday. You can’t beat that. Pass me the chocolates.
On the other hand, it is often a day of devastating un-met expectations, with partners basically never doing/spending/saying enough to mark the occasion – not to mention the ubiquitous slap in the face of all the single people out there, who for 364 days are probably happy they are single … except for Valentine’s Day.
So THIS Valentine’s Day, I suggest we shift the focus from a fabricated ideal to something real: loving ourselves. Let’s spend the week – and indeed 2015 -- working on one of my suggested New Year’s Resolutions: Be Your Own Best Friend.
The journey to getting unstuck and experiencing a passion-filled life starts with loving yourself unconditionally. This is not something that just happens. Like any friendship, it takes dedication, attention and a conscious decision to be there for YOU – thick or thin.
Follow these five steps and you will notice how being your own best friend will give you the courage to fearlessly pursue your life’s passions.
1. Make time for you. One of the toughest things to accomplish is finding a healthy life balance. We all juggle so much and there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to take care of ourselves. But as your own best friend, make a commitment to carve out time every day – even if it is only for 15 minutes – to do something you truly enjoy doing by yourself. Whether it is reading a book, watching Hulu or taking a walk around the block, take time every day JUST FOR YOU. I recommend actually marking down an appointment with yourself – literally put it on your calendar. And make yourself a priority.
2. Avoid negative self-talk. Stop beating yourself up for mistakes you made, or poor decisions, or questionable choices. Life is a journey and no one is perfect. I am SURE people give you enough grief throughout your day without YOU giving yourself grief. Instead, FORGIVE YOURSELF and keep a “lessons log” to learn from your mistakes and turn them into positive experiences.
3. Nurture, don’t sabotage. Instead of looking at the negative side of opportunities and new ventures, consider the positives. Don’t let the negative voices in your head prevent you from finding joy before even taking a first step. Guilt. Regret. Fear. They can all sabotage what could be a wonderful life decision.
4. Don’t sacrifice your health. If you are a caregiver, a parent and/or a workaholic juggling multiple responsibilities, the first thing we tend to ignore is our health. We worry more about the well being of others -- often to the detriment of our own needs. Yet if you aren’t healthy, you can’t function to your fullest potential. So make your health and well being a priority. Be your best friend and make the time to eat right, exercise, relax and take good care of yourself. Only YOU can make that choice.
5. Respect yourself. Treat yourself with dignity, don’t abuse your mind, soul, body or spirit, and don’t let others treat you poorly. You deserve respect, so you should demand respect – not only from others, but also from yourself.
Make it a point to give yourself a gift this Valentine’s Day. It is the most important gift you could give … or receive.
Dr. Lori Baker-Schena is the founder and chief executive officer of Baker Schena Communications, a firm dedicated to “Unleashing Your Potential Through the Power of Words.” We offer motivational speaking, leadership consulting and medical writing services. Find us at www.loribakerschena.com