This is the season of love, Valentine’s Day is here, red hearts, red roses, red teddy bears as the scent of heart shaped bath bombs are wading through the air and you might be thinking to yourself who is going to be my valentine? Who is going to take me out for a meal, sweep off my feet and shower me with the perfect surprise gift or gifts?
You may be divorced or just trying to recover from a traumatic breakup and the commercialization of the season brings the pain back so tangibly… Valentine's Day just might be the most dreaded day on the calendar for the divorced or those currently going through a divorce or traumatic relationship breakup among us. But just because you're single again doesn't mean you deserve to go without love on February 14 or any day of the year for that matter.
Here my top 15 ways to show yourself more love and compassion:
- Drop Self-Judgment. Self-compassion means dropping self-judgment every time you notice it for instance like eating too much chocolate last night or procrastinating writing another chapter of that novel in the morning to perhaps being slightly envious of a friend in the afternoon. Psychology Today say that this is the act of dropping your story that you are bad, wrong, less than, not progressing etc.
- Be or Stay Present. "Self-compassion looks different from moment to moment. When I’m sad, it can look like crying sometimes but at other times it means giving myself a kick in the pants. The most important thing for me to remember is to stay present to my experience so I can be discerning about what self-compassion might mean in any given instance." - Susan Piver
- Put Self-Care First. You may find that the greatest challenge and learning from this practice is that self-care and compassion have to come first—not after you have taken care of others, or done your work for the day, but as YOU as your first priority
- Be Your Own Reliable Companion. Self-compassion means you need to become your most reliable companion on the spiral staircase of life. Of course you will have other companions along the way, but only You will be with You 24/7
- Show Up for Yourself. "The most intimate relationship we will have in our entire lifetime is with ourselves. No one hears our hearts the way we do. No one knows our hurts the way we do. We are the sages of our soft spots and our edges. Self-compassion is showing up to that relationship with honesty and with love." - Jamie Ridler
- Set Boundaries. Develop a definition of self-compassion that starts with setting gentle but clear boundaries, if you have children this will become especially valuable in your parenting, more so if you are a single mother like many of us
- Say YES to Yourself. Self-compassion is self-love, self-empathy, self-mercy. Self-compassion is the act of saying YES to yourself, of sending the message to yourself and all around you that, “I matter”
- Be Honest With You. Tell yourself the truth with love and kindness.
- Ask Good Questions. It’s about using a kind voice to ask yourself good questions: What would help right now? What do you need most? Or, what feels the hardest?
- Tame Your Inner Self-Talk or mind chatter.Sadly our inner dialogue isn’t always kind or accepting. When you catch yourself engaging in negative self-talk, remind yourself that you are enough, that you are doing good work, and that you have friends and family who love you.
- Choose to Swim. In moments when you are in the deepest depths of despair where you have to make a choice of whether you are going to save yourself and swim towards the surface or just let yourself drown. My advice to you and to me are “Choose to swim”, and you will find that from that moment on you will be able to not only survive in taking care of yourself and getting through that situation of despair but thrive with it too.
- Forgive Yourself. Practicing self love and self compassion means that you need to be able to constantly forgive yourself. Forgiving yourself when you judge another to be wrong, when you judge yourself as 'less than'… and judge the world for what you see as 'bad.' “Practicing self-compassion is saying, 'I forgive myself, for I know not what I see or do,' over and over again." – Kerilyn Russo
- Say “I’m Sorry.”"Because I am imperfect, because I am flawed, I allow myself to make mistakes. I will bumble things and the wrong words will come out of my mouth. I will hurt you and I will hurt myself. But because my heart is good, I’ll know that I never meant to. And it’s this “never meant to” that enables me to forgive myself and to forgive you too. Believe in the words, “I'm sorry.” What else is there to say?
- Be Kind. This is simply being kind to yourself—meeting yourself, whatever your emotional, physical or psychological state, with loving kindness.
- Stop Expecting Perfection. When we stop expecting ourselves to be perfect and then beating ourselves up (mercilessly!) for falling short. It’s when we learn to be patient with ourselves the way we would be with say for instance a child, our best friend or elderly parent.
(Tips inspired by the Self-Compassion Saturdays series on Jill Salahub's blog, A Thousand Shades of Gray, used with permission.)
It would be insensitive of me not to appreciate that it can be really easy to feel totally alone during this period. However, know this, that research has shown that most people aren't enjoying the Valentine’s season any more than you are, even if they are in happy relationships. Wherever you are on the spectrum, whatever your marital status, it is crucial that you begin to engage in self-care and love today, after all whether you choose to believe it or not, the greatest love of all is happening to you right now.
This is why I strongly encourage you to celebrate and love yourself each and every day ….This is the ultimate gift of self- love, which in my opinion, many people, especially women often struggle to do.
It is my hope that after going through this article you’ll be closer to uncovering your truth, learn more about self love and self care, release your true self in order to learn how to appreciate and nurture the gem that is YOU. Happy Valentine’s Day !
If you would like to have an informal chat about it, don't hesitate to get in touch on: +44 208 938 3672 and myself or a member of my team will gladly schedule a Complimentary Believe and Live Again Coaching Discovery session or a no-obligation 30 minute "Forgive and Let Go" consultation and together, we could be embarking upon the Believe and Live Again 5 R's journey to heal your heart, outgrow your challenges and let go of the past so that your glorious future can finally emerge.
Once again, I invite you to contact me or schedule a time to talk, call: +44 (0) 208 938 3672 (24 hours) or click on the pink "Contact" at the bottom right hand side of this page and this will take you into my "Let's Talk" contact form. Kindly complete the form and you will get a call back.
In the meantime, until next time, Keep Smiling, Keep Strong and Keep Believing.
Best Wishes and God's Blessings
Zina Arinze helps female professionals, business women, entrepreneurs and women of faith, swiftly recover from the grief, trauma and stigma of divorce, separation or relationship breakdown by giving them clarity for their radiant future so that they are able to transition their mindsets from “we” to “me”, reconnect to their positive of self, regain their feminine power and walk in the healing restorative power of God. A lawyer by training and armed with an MBA, Zina has over 15 years in IT Project Management Consultancy, Training and Capacity Building for both the Public and Private Sectors, she very passionate about building lasting relationships and encouraging the discovery, development and deployment of hidden talents.