It is officially the “day of love” – it’s Valentine’s Day. For some, this is a very important time to spend with loved ones and celebrate our relationships and connections. For others, this can be a difficult day, especially if we feel disconnected or alone. I am a firm believer that Valentine’s day is simply just a day, and that if we value our relationships with others, whether romantic, familial or platonic, we should celebrate this everyday. But one relationship we tend to forget most is the relationship that we have with ourselves.
This brings me to the topic of self-compassion, a concept that many of us forget to incorporate in our lives but is vital for our emotional well-being. Self-compassion is the idea of showing ourselves the same love and kindness that we would to those we care about and value. It is the practice of treating ourselves with the same comfort we would when a loved one is suffering. Many of us simply do not give ourselves permission to love ourselves, especially during difficult times and we fall into the trap of self-criticism and self-deprecation. Why do we do this? If a friend was to approach us for support because she was feeling upset, would we say to her, “Well, you kinda deserved it”, or “You always do this. What’s wrong with you?”? Of course we wouldn’t! We would (hopefully) try our best to tell her that everything is going to be okay and everyone makes mistakes and that we still care about her. We may take her out for a coffee or try and distract her with an activity that we know she would love. We may try to make her laugh or smile by reminding her of times when she did amazing and heroic deeds.
Yet, when we make mistakes or feel terrible ourselves, we sometimes don’t feel worthy of such love. But we have to remember that we have value. And that even though we may be suffering right now, it is likely going to be temporary because disappointment is part of our journey. Our lives are not meant to be perfect because we cannot learn about ourselves and build our own character and resiliency without obstacles.
So in honour of the “day of love”, I challenge you to spend some time loving yourself and reminding yourself of your worth and value. If you are happy, remind yourself that you have a right to be happy because you deserve it. If you are upset, comfort yourself and do things that make you feel calm and content. Remember that this is a temporary moment in your life. And just as we should value our relationships every day rather than just one day of the year, it is also important to practice self-compassion on a regular basis. Because we all have the right and responsibility to celebrate the amazing people we are and will continue to be.
For more information on self-compassion, refer to the resources provided below:
How to Cultivate More Self-Compassion (Psychology Today) – click below