Happy Valentine’s Day! For so many, today is a day to love and appreciate others. And I am sure you have. I am sure you are someone who selflessly gives unwavering love and support to others, even if it may mean the detriment of you.
You are the kind of person that people feel safe around and accepted by. You’re the person who brings the light in someone’s darkest moments, despite being caught in one yourself. You are kind. So why are you so mean to yourself?
And maybe this won’t resonate with everyone, but for so many I know it will. Because you speak and act so lovingly towards others, while the voice inside your mind makes you feel worthless… unlovable. But you’re so lovable and deserve to know this today and every day.
I thought today would be the perfect day to share a practice that helps recognize the inner mean voice, work through it, and begin choosing kindness instead.
- Start by recognizing these negative thoughts or dialogue. This can be the hardest part. We become so accustomed to self-deprecation that we barely notice it anymore. A tip for catching it, is being mindful of your triggers or specific words. For instance, I beat myself up any time I make a mistake.
- Acknowledge it. If you’re alone, I encourage you to say it out loud. Hear the words you say and consider the severity of what you are actually saying.
- Become curious. Consider why this dialogue exists. Did someone speak it to you when you were younger? Do you feel that if you are mean to yourself, you’ll work harder? Is this helping you in anyway?
- Put it all together. I will often say, “I feel as though I am a failure because I am struggling with this task. I know that I am choosing to say this because if I already deem myself a failure, no one else can and I can stop here, rather than continue to get hurt. I am trying to protect myself in a way.”
- Picture your younger self or even the people you love most. How would they sit? What are their facial expressions like? Now, what would you want to say to them? I doubt it would be that they’re a failure. In fact, I am sure you validate their concerns, then proceed to list all the things they’ve conquered or offer some optimistic take on things. For me this looks like, “It’s okay to be scared of failure, but without it, there’s no growth. Just because I didn’t master this now, does not mean I won’t master it ever. I have succeeded before and will succeed again.”
This exercise takes time and lots of practice, but I hope you will give it a try. Most importantly, though, I hope that this Valentine’s Day, and every day, you know that you are loved, needed, and valued. I cannot wait for the day that you are this kind to yourself, as well.