During the month of February in the DWD community we are practicing cultivating self-love and a greater love for life. The following quote has framed much of our conversation and goals.
“I’ve been changed a lot by pain. Today, I am asking to be changed by love instead.” -J. Lynn
What does it take to be changed by love?
February can be a rough month for some of us. If the season of love and romance doesn’t get to you, the seemingly endless gray of winter just might. And there is very little we can do about that; Valentine’s Day will still come again every year and winter will cruelly extend its icy fingers well beyond the New Year (Why?!).
But if you can’t beat em, join em!
If the season of love has you more sick of love than love sick, maybe it’s time for a reframe; It’s time to fall in love with someone you can never get enough of: Yourself.
Here are 3 exercises you can start practicing today to show yourself a little more self-appreciation:
1. Have an opinion.
It’s okay to have an opinion about things. How is having an opinion an act of self-love? It’s pretty hard to fall in love with someone that you don’t know. Forming, exploring and voicing your opinion is a way to get to know yourself better. If you’re the kind of person that prides yourself on being “chill” or “go with the flow” or you find yourself saying “I don’t care. Whatever you want is fine,” then I am talking to you!
Practice having an opinion about small things so you feel comfortable doing so when things really matter. Practice defending why Wendy’s is exactly what you want, even if that defense is simply because you want it. That is a good enough reason. Own it.
Examples for application:
If someone asks you what you want for dinner, name a specific food or restaurant.
“I’m really in the mood for tacos and craving Chipotle tonight.”
If your friends want to meet up for brunch at 9 but you really need until 10, tell them 10.
“I promised myself I’d work out so I am not available until 10. Can we meet then instead?”
If your partner wants to watch tv but you really just want to talk, speak up!
“Let’s watch a show in ten minutes. I have some things I want to tell you about.”
2. “This is the part where you just say ‘thank you.’”
When I was in graduate school I had a friend teach me a very important lesson. Every time someone said something kind to me, I rebutted it. I fought it. I felt the insatiable need to explain why they were mistaken. I played it small. And I didn’t even notice I was doing it. One day, my friend complimented my outfit. Immediately my mouth was open ready with some flaw about the fit or how old it was, but before the self criticism went too far, he stopped me and said 10 words that changed my life:
“This is the part where you just say thank you.”
He didn’t scold me or tell me to change, but his words taught me something I was too busy being self-critical to see: My opinion of myself had no place in that moment and I could either accept the compliment and be improved by it, or refuse the gift of kindness.
My instinct when faced with kind words is still to fight them, but a new voice now appears just as quickly to remind me that I really only have one job when given a kind opinion: to just say thank you.
3. Write A Like List
Every year on my birthday I write a recap of my life with something I call “The Like List.”(see this post for more). It can be so easy to focus on all the things I have not done, the goals I didn’t reach, the weight I didn’t lose, the money I didn’t save. In my 30’s I noticed a happy trend: As I age, I find my recap becoming a more kind, “things I like about my life list”, which helps me close one chapter and begin a new one with a sense of pride and accomplishment, as well as an ounce or two confidence that I am enough. I’ve not only done good things that add value to the world, but I am inherently a good person.
If you aren’t used to it, noticing things you like about yourself and taking note of them can be strange or downright uncomfortable. Like anything, the voice we listen to most tends to be the voice that speaks the loudest. Which voice is loudest in your head? If it is not your own, you have a place to start. A like list can help you on that journey.
Just start with the sentence “I like that I _____________” and you’re off!
Here are a few items from a Like List a few years ago just to give you an idea:
I like that 70% of my daydream time is spent thinking about Red Vines.
I like that I am a little bit of a (ok HUGE) wuss. This innate lack of courage has forced me to stretch, say yes to adventure and overcome even the most ridiculous of fears.
I like that I am easy to please. As long as I am not hungry and have Ibuprofen and the appropriate shoes, nothing can bring me down.
I like that I can read maps and use public transportation anywhere. This skill alone has given me the opportunity to see the world because I know I am creative enough to get from point A to point B if I want it bad enough.
Give some of these exercises a try and let us know what happens! During this season of love, no one deserves to be seen and loved more than you and it all starts with seeing yourself as the amazing, capable, flawed and wonderful person you are!
Leave a comment on our social media or join other like-minded people in our next Dealing With Divorce support group to talk about more ideas for self-love and healing in this chapter of your life.