A couple years ago, I have having a particularly lengthy rough patch. I felt like I was vacillating between anger and despair more often than not. I did everything I could to avoid dealing with those negative emotions – distracting myself with Netflix binges, going out every night, burying myself in work – but I couldn’t escape.
Eventually I had to face the reality that can you never really run away from yourself. If I wanted things to get better, I had to take a hard look at how I was responsible for my black mood. It’s easy to blame everything bad in our lives on circumstances, other people, bad luck, etc…because it’s uncomfortable, if not downright painful, to look at the ugly aspects of ourselves.
But the only way to grow up is to go through.
I arrived at the realization that every time I wasn’t productive or ate pasta instead of a salad or missed a gym session, I would internally berate myself. Each perceived failure served as further proof that I was not worthy.
What it all comes down to is that we need to be kinder to ourselves and simply allow ourselves to be. We need to stop being to internally critical; tearing ourselves down – for doing the wrong thing, saying the wrong thing, thinking the wrong thing – and show ourselves the same compassion that we would for our loved ones.
While Valentine’s Day is traditionally reserved to show other’s how much we love them, where’s the Hallmark holiday for self-love?
Here are 6 Ways You Can Be Kind To Yourself This Valentine’s Day:
1/ embrace what you feel
We can’t always feel as happy as we look in our IG feeds…and that’s ok. Emotions – both negative and positive – are uncontrollable, irrational and most importantly, FLEETING.
Sometimes you’re going to feel like shit despite how awesome your life may be and that doesn’t make you weak or ungrateful. It makes you deeply human because who doesn’t have bad days? Give yourself permission to have an off day because it will serve to make the good ones even sweeter.
When you’re in the depths of despair, just remember: This too shall pass.
2/ enjoy the journey
Let’s slow down and not be in such a rush to check our entire lives off of our to-do list. Once we accomplish one goal, instead of savouring the win we’re rushing off to conquer the next.
Happiness is not found in accomplishing but the process of it.
Revel in your to-do list. Glory in all the things you have yet to do and want to achieve. Fill yourself up with gratitude that you are alive, healthy, free and are afforded the opportunity to even have the options. Just take it slow and breathe.
When you’re feeling impatient and fear creeps in, just remember: Enjoy the ride. Know with certainty that you’ll get there eventually.
3/ quit doubting yourself
People love giving unsolicited – albeit well-meaning – advice but when you’re already riddled with self-doubt, having your life choices questioned can make you feel like
shit not great.
Friends and family will encourage you to quit your job to earn more money, date more, give up carbs, start running – but what to YOU want? The truth is, however benevolent the intentions they’re just trying to validate their own choices. Don’t let the perceptions of others distract you from who you are and what you truly want for your life.
When self-doubt starts creeping in, just remember: You know who you are and what’s best for you better than anyone else.
4/ Don’t aim for “perfection”
There’s a lot of pressure (especially on women) to be perfect and to not make mistakes; not to admit weakness. But if we were all perfect, imagine what boring pod people we’d all be.
Stop the internal litany of criticisms for all of the ways you are less than perfect. Stop haranguing yourself every time you fail on your way to success because guess what – mistakes are part of the process. We’re only human so dump the unrealistic (and unmaintainable) expectations.
The next time you beat yourself up for being less than perfect, remember: Perfect doesn’t exist. What’s important is not how “perfect” you did something but that you tried.
5/ don’t be afraid to have high standards
Fear is patient. It will wait for as long as is required till you are at your most vulnerable and when a sliver of doubt lowers your defenses just a crack for it to creep in. Fear will convince you to lower your standards and settle for less than you deserve. But don’t let fear drive you.
If you want a partner who gives a shit then don’t settle for an apathetic guy who can’t even be bothered to show up. If you want friends who put in the same amount of effort as you do then don’t accept ones who put in the bare minimum.
When fear starts pacing impatient circles around you, remember: You are worth it.
6/ be grateful for love (not entitled to it)
People just lose their shit on Valentine’s Day. If your significant other doesn’t plan a romantic outing, ….while it makes those flying solo want to shoot themselves in the head or at the very least, set up camp at the nearest bar.
But the reality is, while we are all inherently worthy of love, it is not something we’re entitled to. Love it a blessing. How lucky are we that we have the luxury of marrying for love (versus duty or financial stability)? How frivolous!
When you’re lonely or frustrated with your partner, remember this: You are fortunate that you are even afforded the opportunity to love freely.