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Falling in love with you this Valentine’s Day

14 FEB 2021

Love and romance have been celebrated on the 14th February for hundreds of years. It’s a time when we exchange gifts and kind words to express our love for that special person in our lives. For those who are single, Valentine’s Day can provoke feelings of loneliness or exclusion. Regardless of your relationship status, why not make February 14th the time to show yourself the love, kindness and appreciation that we usually save for those we can about.

Research shows that love is really good for us.  Love is associated with the release of the feel-good hormone dopamine and the mood stabilising hormone serotonin. Oxytocin is also released which is known for decreasing feelings of stress and anxiety. Further, showing love to ourselves is associated with improvements in physical and mental well-being and increased resilience.
 
Loving yourself is about treating yourself as you would a friend. Here are some suggestions to help you to practice self-love.

Talk to yourself as you would your best friend

Words are powerful and the words we use toward ourselves matter. If a friend tells us that they have been made redundant from work, we wouldn’t say something like “well that’s because you’re stupid, unintelligent and not good enough to do the job.”Yet we say things like this (and worse!) to ourselves every day. With a friend, we would respond with compassion and empathy. We might say something like “I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I care about you and I’m here for you”. Try and catch yourself when you are next being self-critical, would you talk to your best friend like that?

Let go of perfectionism

According to the Centre of Clinical Interventions, perfectionism can be present in any area of our lives, and can be present in one area, but not others. For example, we might have perfectionism in work or study, but not in our appearance.

Perfectionism a paradox because it is often thought of as something positive. Something that challenges us to achieve our goals with extremely high standards. However, often the standards we set for ourselves are unrealistic and incredibly demanding which will often affect our performance. You may find yourself excessively checking and organising, constantly making lists, or unable to make decisions. And this all takes time. Time away from friends, family and doing the things we enjoy.

Additionally, perfectionists often judge their self-worth on their performance which can result in feeling constantly stressed, tense, on edge and not good enough. If you’re a perfectionist, give yourself a break. Show yourself you care by finding strategies to challenge your perfectionist behaviours. Click here to find out more.

Forgive yourself

We all make mistakes. Some are small and inconsequential, that are forgotten by tomorrow, and others can impact every area of our lives. Lifeline WA Well-being Coordinator Susie Biggin refers to mistakes as gifts. “Mistakes are not only a gift to ourselves, but they are a gift to others. When we make a mistake we are reinforcing the fact that we are human and, that as humans, we are imperfect.”

Learning to forgive ourselves for mistakes creates an opportunity for intellectual and emotional growth. Having a growth mindset is associated with increased resilience and more positive emotions. Click here to read more about growth mindset and the benefits of failure.

Take yourself out on a date

Spend time with yourself. Try different things to find out what you do and don’t like without having to compromise for anyone else. Take yourself to the cinema, or out for breakfast or dinner. Perhaps a picnic at the park with a good book is more you. Lifeline WA staff member Liz Schleicher is a confessed self-love master. “Once a week, I have a date night with myself. I stay at home, turn on my fairy lights, enjoy a glass of wine, some delicious food and watch a movie.” Doing things for yourself is a great way to show yourself love and doing them by yourself can feel empowering and provide great sense of independence.

When you think about those you at closest to, it usually takes months and years to cultivate a loving and trusting relationship. Falling in love with yourself and becoming your own best friend also takes time. This Valentine’s Day make a commitment to show yourself love; you are worth it.

If you need some support, please call 13 11 14, available 24/7.

Written by Rochelle Allison-Moore

Image Credit: Photo by Bart LaRue on Unsplash