By Lauren Berger, MSW, RSW
When February rolls around, our minds are often brought to thoughts of love, romance, and sex. Whether or not you have a partner, you may want to renew your vows with your true One and Only… yourself! You won’t have a longer or more important relationship with anyone else, so the time has come to work on this relationship. Here are my top tips for working on your relationship with yourself:
- Be kind. When you stop to think about it, you’re kind of hard on yourself, aren’t you? We all are. If you send an email with a typo, you’re such an idiot! Spill coffee on your lap? Such a klutz! If it was your best friend who did these things, how would you talk to her? Would you name-call and talk down to her? Doubtful. So why should you treat yourself differently? Self-compassion is one of the greatest (and most necessary) gifts we can give ourselves. When you are kinder, gentler, and more forgiving with yourself, you will likely find that you feel more confident and love yourself a little more.
- Convince yourself. Now that you’ve got your everyday self-talk under control, it’s time to up the ante. Using affirmations is a kicked-up way of helping you stay accountable to positive self-talk. Look at yourself in the mirror; eye contact is important in communication, even with yourself! Depending on the message you need to give yourself, come up with a sentence or two that is empowering, makes you feel safe, makes you feel good, brave, beautiful, or loved. Repeat this to yourself in the mirror. Sometimes people say they feel a little foolish while practicing affirmations. I say that this is something just for you; a private moment of love for yourself. No need to feel embarrassed or ashamed. Recognize that this is for your benefit and no one else’s.
- Connect to your body. What do you think of your body? Really, ask yourself. Chances are you answer with an aesthetically-based response. In our beauty-obsessed society, we tend to focus on our looks… But there is so much more to our bodies than what meets the eye. Regard your body with a mindfulness approach: What do you feel? Warm skin, strong muscles? When you close your eyes, what do you hear? The rhythm of your heartbeat, the sound of your nose breathing in and out? Perhaps most importantly, bring attention to what your amazing body can Can you lift heavier things than you thought? Create a beautiful piece of art with your hands? Run a little faster than you did last year? Grow another human?! (Sorry gents, that last one is specific to the ladies.) Your body is a magical thing that has so, so much more worth than what we can see in a selfie.
This Valentine’s Day, take the time to work on your most important relationship. You deserve your own time, attention, and love and you may be surprised by how much more confident, happy, and relaxed you feel.
Lauren Berger is a Registered Social Worker providing counselling and psychotherapy at IHI. Check her out at www.laurenberger.ca, drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Twitter: @LaurenBergerMSW, or sneak a peek at her Instagram: laurenberger3. Book your appointment with Lauren today.
Photo reference: https://stocksnap.io/search/love/sort/relevance/desc