Stories of Shame on Valentine’s Day and Beyond
“I don’t have friends.”
“I’m always left out.”
“I’m not good enough.”
“I will always be lonely.”
“Nobody really sees me.”
Stop. Breathe. Feel.
Notice how these statements landed with you. What sensations do you notice in your body? How does your energy feel?
I notice that my breathing is shallow, in my chest. These statements are weighty, heavy. I feel sort of trapped in the feelings of these words, and I notice a low, tired, and draining energy. There’s quite a bit of contraction.
These are REAL thoughts that scroll through my mind from time to time. These are actual words I have said to myself on more than one occasion.
Clients I support, both teens and parents, have shared identical statements with me. These are stories that we sometimes tell ourselves. These stories tend to push us deeper into shame, further into isolation.
If that hits you really hard, I’m with you.
Take three comforting breaths– any breath that feels soothing and supportive to you.
Loving, Compassionate Truths on Valentine’s Day and Beyond
Now, let’s talk to ourselves in affirming ways:
“I am whole just as I am.”
“I am connected to people I love.”
“I am loved.”
“I create love and beauty in my life.”
“I can take up space.”
Stop. Breathe. Feel.
Again, how are these statements landing with you? What are you sensing in your body? How is your energy?
I feel lighter and brighter; I am smiling. I can see beyond my own experience, literally noticing the sounds in the room and objects around me. These thoughts and words carry a buzz of joy and freedom.
We are always telling ourselves something, and if we can pause and take a breath, we may have greater awareness and capacity to offer ourselves loving, compassionate, and affirming words.
These words are not magic. They aren’t going to immediately make massive changes in the landscapes of our lives. However, they will make changes in subtle and deep ways. Thus, practicing awareness of our words can be an act of self-love.
This is an invitation to notice the words you are speaking and thinking to yourself today and every day. Do your best to observe the thoughts gently, kindly. If it feels right, create a daily practice of offering yourself loving, compassionate truths. I, personally, love an affirmation practice where I write and say affirmations to myself each morning at the end of my journaling session.
Practicing Self-Love Every Day
Consumerist, corporate-created “rules,” ideas, and holidays– like, say, Valentine’s Day, lol– can add to our mental chatter and doubt. This is real and valid.
And, the practices you have and create and maintain that help you treat yourself the way you would treat a dear friend are a balm. The words you use to affirm and love on yourself have an impact on you, your life, and the way you engage with the world.
How do you connect with, comfort, and care for yourself? What are you already doing that supports you in being compassionate with yourself? What else might you like to add to your daily or weekly routine to support yourself?
On Valentine’s Day and every day, you can make the choice to tell yourselves loving, compassionate truths.
(P.S. Valentine’s Day is actually my favorite holiday because of a personal journey and mission I started when I was 18. Read more about it here!)
Finally, you can find more self-care ideas here, if you’re interested in changing things up a bit.
*Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash.