All around the country people are celebrating their loved ones. Are you?
I’ve never been one to fall for Valentine’s Day. Do I really need one day out of 365 to remind me to love someone? If there is truly love, shouldn’t we love them all year long?
And in the end I can see the irony.
For many years my heart was closed to other people.
I didn’t trust or see the good in people or the world around me.
Because I didn’t trust or see the good in myself.
I created a wall that kept people out. And those I let in, I let in slowly.
As a result, I closed myself off to friends, family and colleagues. I kept a distance with an attitude that said, “I don’t care.” And “So what?” This is how I kept myself “safe”.
Because of that same fear, I closed myself off to a world of opportunity.
In 2006 I met my first coach. She suggested two words that changed everything.
She told me, “Stacey, I want you to trust and soften.”
I’ll never forget the impact of these two simple words.
Soon after, I was reminded of my high school year book quote: Before you can learn to love others, you must first learn to love yourself.
Our younger selves know a lot.
I spent a good part of the last five years learning to trust and soften. It’s not easy to undo almost two decades of work. Strong support systems combined with practices like yoga, meditation, and journaling made a big difference in how I viewed myself and the world around me. I woke up.
Just the other day I sat with a colleague and as we shared updates and stories about our lives and our business she said, “Stacey you’ll be successful in your endeavors because you’re easy to be with and people will want to join you. I can see the excitement in your eyes.”
I smiled back and said, “Funny, I haven’t always been that easy to be with or relate to. I spent a long time living behind a wall, and a good part of the last 5 years taking it down.”
It’s an ongoing process and practice to keep it that way.
Learning how to love and appreciate me, I realize, allows me to love and appreciate those around me. Feeling good about yourself allows you to give fully to others, without expectation. It’s not arrogant when giving to others comes from a genuine place. In fact, it’s necessary.
On this Valentine’s Day I offer two questions in an effort to create more genuine interactions between people:
What one thing can you do today to show love and compassion to yourself? Whether you exercise, eat well, share a hug with a loved one or notice your self-talk, (or something else) what can you do for yourself today?
What one thing can you do for someone you care about (or maybe someone you don’t know yet?). Something as simple as a smile, a quick phone call or a “thank you” may have more of an impact than you think.
When you feel good about yourself, you feel good about how you can help, support and love others. And that is feel good living.
How do you spend Valentine’s Day? Do you see it as a special day to share love, or is it just another day?