Celebrate Yourself this Valentine’s Day
I recently heard a great quote by Yoko Ono: “Try to say nothing negative about anybody for three days, for forty-five days, for three months. See what happens to your life.” While Yoko’s suggestion sounds good, I want to change one word that could make a world of difference: “What if you said nothing negative about yourself for three days, forty-five days, or three months?”
Living with lupus includes dealing with self-criticism about many things, like changes in your appearance, or maybe you cannot keep your home as spotless as you would like, be as active or as social as you used to, work as much as you would like to, and so on. I always talk about the losses related to lupus, and sometimes self-esteem can take a downturn as you try to grapple with these challenges.
In December, I wrote about the benefits of being a giving person. But let’s turn the tables. Now I’m recommending that you also give to yourself. Practicing this type of self-kindness is not a science, but I cannot help but wonder how differently we each would feel if we replaced criticism with praise.
Valentine’s Day is approaching, so what if you geared up to celebrate yourself this February 14th! This is a day when we are particularly mindful of the thoughts we think about ourselves, and instead of self-critical thoughts, we tell ourselves – in our heads, to our friends, or on social media – what we love about ourselves. Will you take part?
Practice of Self-Kindness
Practice avoiding one negative thought about yourself for however long you can – an hour, a day, build up to a week and more. Start on Valentine’s Day and keep at it throughout the year.
And let’s get even more daring! How about not only avoiding self-criticism but also telling yourself three things about yourself a day that are good? What do you like about yourself? For some reason it is easier to criticize ourselves than it is to say good things about ourselves, so this could require some effort. Try to find one thing – it could be something on the outside, like a nice smile or a warm twinkle in your eye. It could be something about your personality, like being a good listener or having a good sense of humor. Or maybe you are good at a hobby like knitting or singing.
Now imagine doing this with a support group or friends – have each member tell the person next to them one special quality. Each of you can take that feedback home and remember it when you forget to love yourself. Even simply remembering the positive things others have said to you in the past could be helpful reminders of your good qualities.
Most of us would not talk to our friends in the same, critical ways we talk to ourselves. We would not want to hurt other people’s feelings because we value them and love them as they are. This same compassion and level of acceptance and understanding should be given to yourself. No one who has ever lived is perfect. We do the best we can with the life and resources that we have. Accepting this about yourself is a very important part of self-kindness.
What will you do to celebrate yourself this Valentine’s Day, any day or even EVERYDAY? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page.