Photo by Moyan Brenn
It’s about that time of year when we start thinking about Valentine’s Day and all the mushy-gushyness that it comes with. If you’re in a relationship, your partner might be dropping subtle hints about a little somethin’ somethin’ that they’re hoping for.
If you’re single, your aunt might be dropping not-so-subtle hints like by the time she was your age, she was already “married with two kids, and one on the way, you know.”
If you’re single and looking – and even if you’re not – you’ve probably heard it before: if you want to find true happiness with a partner, you must first find it within yourself.
Learning to love yourself is a lifelong journey, but at the same time, just as it is when you love someone else, it is a daily practice.
As it is said, “love is a verb” (thanks John Mayer!). This Valentine’s Day – regardless of your marital status – make a point of directing some of that love toward yourself, and fall crazy in love with you and your awesome life. Here are some ways you can put it into practice.
You don’t have to keep people in your life if they have hurt you, but you also don’t have to hold on to that hurt. One of my favourite proverbs says “holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else – you are the one who gets hurt.”
When you harbour anger and resentment, you are the one who suffers. Do yourself a favour and let the healing process begin so that you can move on and make room for more love in your life.
Where you can, eliminate toxic relationships and situations from your life. It can be difficult to cut someone from your team, but if they are only bringing negativity to your life, ask yourself why you are keeping them around. Is it fear/guilt-based, or is it love-based? What positives do they serve in your life, and what positives do you serve in theirs?
Make room in their life for someone who is truly happy to be there, and make room in your own for someone who doesn’t drain you of your own precious, positive energy.
If this person is someone more difficult to get away from (family, coworker, neighbour), set boundaries both physically (limiting the time you spend together), and emotionally (limiting how much you let them affect you). You are in control of your emotions – not them!
Get it together
Being lazy, bad habits, procrastinating, not taking care of yourself, allowing yourself to stay in dramatic situations – we all have our poison. As best as you can, face those challenges head-on.
Talk to that person you’ve been avoiding, do that task you’ve been putting off, start that program you’ve been thinking about. Put a little sweat equity into your life, even if it is one step at a time.
You’ll feel so much better going to bed each night knowing that you took steps that day toward your purpose, instead of dealing with the guilt and anxiety of avoiding what you didn’t do.
Be kind to yourself
I’m going to contradict my last statement a bit here in saying this, but while it is important to take responsibility for your actions and your life, have compassion for yourself too.
Maybe you said something you didn’t mean in the heat of the moment, or you vegged on “Game of Thrones” instead of finishing your to-do list. Or maybe you made a major mistake that’s really going to set you back.
It’s going to be OK. We all make mistakes. Take a deep breath, repeat those last two sentences to yourself, and figure out an action plan. The sooner you forgive yourself for slipping up, the sooner you will be ready to learn from it and get back on track.
Be honest with yourself
It’s easy to get caught up in what we think we’re supposed to want, feel and do. But really, this is your life and the only person who knows what is best for you is you. So dig deep and get really honest with yourself about what that is, and what you need to do to get there.
Some of it might be tough for others to accept. Some of it might even be tough for you to accept, and that’s OK. If you are living your life based on your own personal truth and love – not only for others but also for yourself – things will turn out just fine.
Faye Armstrong is a life coach based in Winnipeg who is passionate about living life to the fullest and helping others do the same. For a little motivation or to learn more about personal coaching, visit http://www.fayeaarmstrong.com.