14 Feb Tips for Demonstrating Love to Others and to Yourself this Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day: the celebration of love and affection. Flowers, chocolate, a romantic dinner and a special gift for an intimate partner, love interest or crush is how society portrays the ideal expression of such. And well, let’s be honest…we all, in one way or another, have submitted to that expectation. Whether it be by making sure we give those things to another individual or feel badly because we did not receive them, we have allowed commercialization to dictate how “loved” we feel around this holiday.
That being said, I have decided to reconsider how I view Valentine’s Day this year. I have decided to use this “love season” as an opportunity to be more thoughtful about my expression of love for those I care about and to be more mindful about my acts of self-love. Here are some tips for how you can do the same and demonstrate your love for others and yourself in more genuine and wholesome ways.
L – Listen
Active listening is one of the most authentic ways to show someone how much you care. I’m sure everyone, at some point, in some relationship, has said the phrase “I just want to feel heard.” Well, offer that experience to a loved one. Take a minute to really tune in to what that person is saying. You can relay how tuned in you are through body language, eye-contact, paraphrasing back what they are saying, asking questions and using brief verbal affirmations like “I see” or “I understand.” Feeling heard and understood increases trust and trust is at the core of any positive relationship.
Listen to your body. This is a simple but often challenging way to show yourself some love. For example, our bodies may feel fatigued, tired, lethargic, but we don’t allow ourselves to slow down due to responsibilities or fear we won’t meet others expectations. Give yourself a break this month. Sleep in that extra hour on a Saturday, let people know you may need some additional time completing a task, or set aside some “me” time to relax.
O – Optimize
Pay attention to HOW you are spending your time with loved ones. Quality over quantity. Be intentional with your plans to ensure you are getting the most out of your time together.
Being intentional with your “me” time is equally as important, especially because “me” time is often so limited. Show yourself some extra love by having pre-planned self-care or activities you enjoy lined up. This will allow you to optimize those small windows of time that you are able to find for yourself.
V – Validate
Let your loved ones know that you understand their feelings, that they are doing a good job at something, or that you recognize something is important to them. It feels good when others verify and support your experience of situations, and in this simple way you can offer that to someone you love.
Validate yourself! Make sure to tell yourself that you are doing your best, no matter the situation or circumstance. We are naturally much better at being our worst critics than our biggest fans. It’s time to shift to a more balanced approach of acknowledging areas for improvement while commending ourselves for the hard work we put in.
E – Explore
Explore something new and different with those you care about. Visit a new place, engage in a new activity, try a new cuisine or watching a new show. Exploring new things offers you and a loved one something to share and enjoy together. It keeps things interesting and allows for new memories to be created.
Explore your urges. We often suppress our urges or quickly shut them down because they feel impulsive. Appreciate that these urges come from somewhere and explore them before simply writing them off. You deserve the opportunity to have your desires, wishes and needs met. There is no harm in exploring the possibility.
Engaging in these simple things can really help with your ability to be kind to yourself and to feel more connected to those around you. In the end, love is all you need.
Authored by: Jessica Oppenheimer