This year, I’m making a big effort to be my own Valentine and to treat myself the way I deserve to be treated by any lover. Of course, this isn’t just for Valentine’s Day or even for the month of February, but a skill I hope to hone much more permanently. Treating myself the way I should be treated involves many things, including self-awareness, self-respect, and self-care.
After all, the most important relationship I will have throughout my life is the relationship I have with myself. If I can take care of myself well, it will go a long way in life, making myself happy and healthy and helping others around me to be happy and healthy, as well.
Here are the basic steps I am taking to love myself the way I deserve to be loved:
1. Take care of my own health. This is an important one. I plan to take care of myself in the same way I would take care of a dear friend or lover by cooking good food, drinking lots of water, indulging in the occasional glass of wine, and getting enough sleep. When I am feeling under-the-weather, I will get more sleep, wrap up in a blanket and relax on the couch, make sure I get enough vitamins and take appropriate medication, and pull out all the stops for a luxurious bubble bath.
2. Romance myself. When there isn’t anyone else to buy me flowers, I will buy them for myself because the freshness and beauty improves my mood and makes my space so pleasant. If I really want a piece of jewelry, or a palm reading, or a piece of chocolate, I will let myself have it. I will pamper myself by doing the things I always wanted a love to do for me.
3. Do things that make me happy. Both doing little things, like treating myself to take out or watching a favorite tv show, and by doing big things, like taking myself on exciting trip abroad, I will not wait for someone else to fill my life with delicious experiences.
4. Do wonderful things for the people I love. I love my world and want to share that love with those I hold dear. This year, I’m putting together a Galentine’s Day brunch for me and a couple of my closest girlfriends. We’re going to a favorite pub for a fancy brunch to spoil ourselves and enjoy some female company. I also remind my family and friends often how appreciative I am to have them in my life. I also think it’s a great practice to send cards and emails to those I care about and I’m making it a goal to do that more often this year. I thought a lot more about friends this past holiday season and picked out individualized and special little things for each of those dear people. I also organized a gift exchange in my writer’s group for after NaNoWriMo was over to celebrate all of our accomplishments and appreciate the awesome group of women we have that support each other through the writing process. We had a great time making each other happy. So great. Basically, spread the love. You will feel the love come back to you ten fold.
5. Surprise myself! Just when I think I can’t or shouldn’t or won’t do something, I promise to encourage myself to go through with it anyway.
6. Celebrate! Celebrate the good things, both little and big. For little accomplishments, give little rewards. For big accomplishments, celebrate in accordance. Getting through a particularly tough workday deserves a long, hot bubble bath, for example. A friend’s birthday means baking something scrumptious. Finishing a semester of school or a raise at work warrants a new handbag or dress. Maybe your goodies are a little different from mine, but you get the idea.
Overall, the idea is: take care of myself the way that I would want a lover to take care of me. Focus on the good. Be grateful and share the love. I think I can deal with that.
Here are some additional resources for treating yourself the way you deserve:
Photo credit: Garry Knight