Ah, Valentine’s Day, that magical time of year when the world blushes in rouge, and love blossoms. A cherished season for us in the jewelry scene. Jewelry, love cards, chocolate, and flowers—they all become tokens of affection exchanged between couples.
During Valentine’s, our focus shifts to making our loved ones feel cherished. TV shows, ads, and content everywhere echo the theme of “How to Make Someone Else Feel Special?” But what about yourself? How do you make yourself feel special?
Committed to well-being, we believe the best Valentine’s gift is self-love. Rather than a guide on gifting others, let’s explore ways to show yourself some love this year.
I’ve curated a guide featuring six simple yet powerful self-love exercises that have proven immensely beneficial for me. My intention is that these practices empower you to extend the same care and attention to yourself that you generously give to others, whether it’s Valentine’s Day or any other day throughout the year.
When it comes to optimal mental and emotional well-being, self-love exercises are key to keeping things in tip-top shape. But what are they exactly, and why are they so important?
Self-love exercises are little habits that help you be kinder to yourself and build a more positive and caring connection with, well, you! In layman’s terms, it is the way we think, speak, treat, and relate to ourselves.
A quick ‘Google’ search on the term will prompt you to the power of positive affirmations, gratitude journals, and more. The landscape offers numerous guides with varied approaches—some effective for certain people, while others not so much.
During my own self-love journey, I found that not every technique available works for me. You may also realize that some of them don’t work for you either. So, how should you approach this self-love quick guide?
Do not make this your sole reference. Browse additional content and explore things that might resonate with you on your unique journey. Don’t shy away from looking for professional support, as it helps you to identify the areas you need to work on.
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1 – Be Kind to Yourself
Do you ever find yourself in situations where you pass judgments on yourself that you would never impose on anyone else?
For instance, do you consistently display kindness towards others, offering encouragement and a pep talk when they make mistakes? Are you quick to forgive and forget any faults they may have, moving on with your lives? However, if you’re the one making the mistake, that same kindness is often absent.
Granting yourself the same generosity and kindness you readily give to others is a must when it comes to self-love. Personally, it’s something I am actively working on. So far, it has proven rather challenging but certainly rewarding.
The next time you catch yourself being overly harsh and unforgiving about your mistakes, take a moment to remind yourself that you deserve the same treatment and kindness you extend to others. It brings to mind the lyrics of one of my favorite songs by Lianne La Havas: “We all make mistakes, we do!”
2 – Take Time to Breathe
So, you might be thinking, ‘Here comes the usual spiel about practicing mindful breathing or something along those lines.’ While I acknowledge the importance of those practices, what I’m getting at is a different kind of ‘breathing.’
What I truly mean is, imagine yourself knee-deep in an avalanche of never-ending tasks. During these moments, grant yourself a breather. Requesting more time or politely declining additional tasks is perfectly okay.
But it’s not just about your professional life; it extends to family and social occasions. Sometimes, these events can be overwhelming.
So, give yourself permission to create some healthy distance. Consider it a break for yourself from these events. And if you must be present, allow yourself the space to navigate through them at your own pace.
In essence, ‘Take Time to Breathe’ is about recognizing the need to step back when life gets overwhelming. Remember, it’s okay to create breathing room for yourself, whether in your workload or social obligations.
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3 – Face and Name Your Emotions
During my mental well-being journey, I discovered that self-awareness is one of the most profound acts of self-love. It helps you be kind to yourself, set clear boundaries, and much more. The truth I’ve learned is that we’re constantly avoiding admitting feelings like anger, jealousy, or disappointment.
But how can you deal with, understand, and “care” for your emotions if you don’t know what they are? So, next time you experience an emotion, be it positive or negative, acknowledge and name it: “I am feeling anger because of that action…”
I learned this from my therapist. Naming your emotions helps validate your feelings and understand where they come from. While articulating emotions may seem subtle, understanding what you feel emerges as a potent tool.
Getting a handle on your feelings helps you figure out what sets you off and gives you more control over the situation. It’s a vital step in building a stronger connection with yourself and navigating life with awareness of your emotions.
4 – Be Mindful of Your Self-Talk
Have you ever taken a moment to tune into the thoughts swirling in your head? Have you considered the way you talk to yourself? For example, I recently started paying attention to how often I engage in harsh self-talk.
To my amazement, thoughts like “I’m a failure” or “I’m not good at this or that” were a repeating chorus. Sound familiar? If so, you might need to pay attention and change the way you talk and think about yourself, as it reinforces the wrong things in your head.
In a way, this circles back to the “Be Kind to Yourself” exercise, but it’s about tweaking your internal dialogue. Instead of berating yourself with phrases like “I suck at this,” consider reframing it as “I’m giving the best I can.” This subtle shift can profoundly impact your mindset.
I once read that a sailor, if they set their boat just a few degrees off, might end up in a completely different location. Instead of reaching their original destination, that small change in direction could lead them elsewhere.
I find this small shift in self-talk does the same for your mindset—a minor change that can significantly alter how you perceive yourself and approach challenges.
This isn’t about denying challenges or shortcomings; rather, it’s a compassionate acknowledgment that you’re doing your best. By choosing more positive words, you create a friendlier and more uplifting mental environment.
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5 – Mind Your Pace
Ever feel like the world is racing ahead, and you’re struggling to keep up? Do you sense that you might be falling behind? If that rings true, know that you’re not alone.
Recently, my therapist shared a valuable lesson with me—the importance of setting my own pace and doing things at a speed that feels right for me. Initially, I was skeptical, thinking, “Can that really work?” But then she dropped a piece of wisdom that lingers in my mind every time I feel the pressure to keep pace with the rest of the world. It’s become my go-to mantra.
Now, echoing my therapist’s wisdom, my mantra is: “Go as fast as the slowest part of you can follow.” How freeing is that?
The advice is straightforward yet profound—avoid rushing, resist the temptation to pressure yourself into matching others’ speeds. Be authentically you, and let them be themselves. It has emerged as one of the most impactful acts of self-love in my recent journey.
6 – Treat Yourself
This one hits close to home for me too. Growing up in a humble background, I learned to value sharing—an inheritance I genuinely cherish. Generosity, not just with my time but also with possessions, has always resonated with me. However, the challenge arises when the focus shifts too much towards others, leaving little room for self-care.
What’s a treat for you? Maybe a spa day, enjoying sorbet by the beach after a taxing day, or splurging on a new piece of ocean jewelry—why not, right? Or it could be as simple as turning off your phone and ignoring messages for a while.
I may not know exactly what it looks like for you, but I believe you should do it. Indulge in what brings you pleasure and improves your mood, and strip away any lingering guilt. Do what makes you feel good about yourself.
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Self-love Exercises: The Shore Line
Recently, a gem of wisdom caught my eye in a professional self-development book. It goes as: “You cannot pour from an empty bucket.” For me, that statement resonates profoundly when it comes to love. How can you give it if you don’t harbor it for yourself?
So, this Valentine’s Day, here’s our message to you: take the time to truly know yourself, empower your journey with self-awareness, and embrace your emotions. Be kind and gentle, remembering to pace yourself. By doing so, you’ll discover your bucket brimming, allowing you to overflow into the buckets of those around you. This season and all the seasons to come, be your own Valentine.
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