BY CARRIE JEROSLOW
February 14th – Valentine’s Day. It is, perhaps, one of the most anticipated “holidays” for women in relationships and one of the more dreaded ones for those who are single. But does it have to be this way? As a single woman, how can you turn this day from one of sadness to one of empowerment? It’s easy to take your mind off of the pain by just going out with your girlfriends. But what if, for once, you used Valentine’s Day to focus on the relationship you have with yourself?
We are bombarded with messages that tell us our happiness lies outside of ourselves. “I’ll be happy when I meet that special someone.” However, authentic happiness can only happen when you truly fall in love with yourself. I find that when my coaching clients take the time to develop and nurture a soulmate relationship with themselves, they become stronger, more empowered women who are clearer on the kind of relationship they want to have with another person. This is one of the important steps I talk about in my current book, “Why Do They Always Break Up With Me?”
Think about what you do when you are getting to know a new partner. You ask questions, get to know their interests, hobbies, joys and frustrations. You learn about their past and how it affects their present. These are the kinds of things you want to know about yourself. This takes courage to go deep and look at all the thoughts and beliefs that have made you the person you are today. And just like you want a partner to love all of you, you must first extend this unconditional love to yourself. This is a life-long process of self-inquiry, acceptance, care and compassion.
One of the ways that helps to create this fundamental relationship is a self-care practice. When I was completely lost in 2016, I decided that I was going to begin a daily yoga practice. I had been practicing for over twenty years, but it was sporadic at best. I came up with a “minimum practice” of 5 minutes a day and made a commitment to show up, regardless of how I felt. After the first year, I found that consistency was the key – not length or difficulty. Just showing up gave me a safe space to come to every day. I have cried, exalted, pleaded, found inspiration and solved countless problems on my mat. And more than anything, I have gotten to know myself on a deeply intimate level. This has helped me to become clearer about my relationships with others because I am more grounded in my beliefs, morals and values and am therefore aware of when I feel this way in the presence of other people.
There are many different things you can do when cultivating your personal self-care practice. First, find the things you love to do and write them down. This could be singing, playing an instrument, meditation, tai chi, cooking, sewing, reading – anything that feeds your soul. Make sure you have many options for a short 5-minute practice, as well as things you can do regardless of weather or space restrictions. Think about it this way: It is 11:50pm, you have 10 minutes to get your practice in before going to sleep and you don’t feel well. What would you do?
Of course, you can also have options when you have limitless time. Going on a long hike, taking an extended bike ride, reading a book from cover to cover are all options if they bring you joy.
Keep a journal and write down what you do every day. This will keep you accountable. When you don’t want to do it, make yourself do it anyway. Tell yourself you are worth it. And don’t judge yourself if you resist it the entire time. You showed up and that’s the most important part.
Creating, maintaining and cultivating this sacred self-care practice is one very important step in claiming your power on Valentine’s Day and every day of the year. Fall in love with yourself by showing yourself that you are important enough to spend this valuable time filling your own container.