As I tolerate a week of my dining table cluttered with chocolate kisses, markers and teeny handwritten notes with the most delightful misspellings in the lead up to Valentine’s Day, I’m struck by how exciting this holiday is to my kids. Sure, the candy is part of it, along with all of the reds, pinks and hearts, but there’s clearly more to it than that. It’s the love.
It’s a day of acknowledging—even in some small way—that we like each other or even that we love each other. That we belong with each other, even if and when we’re quite different from one another. Beyond the chocolate, it’s the unique displays of appreciation that say, I see you.
Kids get this and are solid in their practice of accepting and (let’s be honest) demanding the love that they require. As adult humans, we are fueled by this love and feeling of belonging. And yet, in our addiction to busy and quest for productivity, we often lose sight of it’s importance—until we’re depleted and lonely.
One way to turn this train around—to begin accepting and offering more love in your life—is to start with self-love. As the wise Brené Brown says, "When you get to a place where you understand that love and belonging, your worthiness, is a birthright and not something you have to earn, anything is possible."
Here are 3 ways to get started:
1. Prioritize something that brings you joy
Schedule joy into your calendar for at least one hour a week. Sure, you have a million things to do for other people, but your meeting with YOUR JOY is your most important meeting of the week.
2. Write a love letter…to yourself
Yes, it’s true the corniest sounding exercises can be the most powerful ones. I often ask my clients to write forgiveness letters to themselves. This one goes a step further. What do you love about yourself? It could be who you are as a leader, a parent or a friend. Or it could even be your adorable pinky toe hidden away in winter boots. Extol your many virtues in a note that acknowledges all you’ve been through and how you make people feel.
3. Do something that scares you
When you push yourself to do something you fear, you’re demonstrating a confidence in your abilities and a belief that you can get through it, no matter what happens. You are that resilient being who can move through heartbreak and loss—knowing that it was all worth it for the way you felt in that moment, for what those people—who are now gone—brought into your life. And that resilience fuels you for more growth, to continue to step into the unknown—which is truly where the magic happens.
So, no matter who’s in your life and who’s not this Valentine’s Day, you have the most important person—the one you truly need to make it in this world. Take care of that human. He/she/they have been through a lot. You’ve earned a piece of chocolate stolen from the dining room table and a movie at your favorite new theater with the reserved seats, or even a night out to a book-signing and talk about puberty…which is my big Valentine’s plan! Whatever it is, feel the love, own it, believe you are worth the possibilities and all of the warm and fuzzies that come with them.