In this issue Bernie Petrie poses this question… With the end of winter getting closer, and now that we’re in the month of Valentine’s Day, are our hearts filled with thoughts of love and romance? Yes or No?

Your response to this question will be very personal depending on what Valentine’s Day means to you. Does it feel you with joy or is it dread, disappointment and  cynicism? ‘Your Valentine’ according to the dictionary refers to ‘someone you love or would like to have a romantic relationship with’.

Who doesn’t want to be looked at with love, to be spoken to with consideration, kindness and affection, to be valued and listened to? We all do! Yet we overlook the fact that we can and need to be doing all of this for ourselves. We can have a loving, caring and respectful relationship with ourselves and be our own lifelong Valentine.

So, this year, revisit the meaning behind Valentine’s Day and take a fresh approach with the following valuable steps towards loving who you are. And, in the process, you can be your very own sweet Valentine!

1. When you wake up in the morning, take a moment to say hello to your body and be gentle with yourself as you get up. A few moments appreciating the vehicle that you are in goes a long way towards you feeling loved.

2. Next, check in with yourself in the mirror, not in a critical or vain way but in a loving and accepting way. Say hello, give yourself a smile. As you progress with this daily, you will work up to looking into your eyes with love (just the way, we dreamt as children that love would be!) Learn to like and love who you see in the mirror daily. Daily eye contact with yourself can build respectful loving trust in a powerful way.

3. Throughout your day replace self-criticism with self-compassion. Let’s face it, we all make mistakes, we’re only human! But instead of berating yourself, pause, take a deep breath and give yourself reassurance, understanding and encouragement. The less we criticise ourselves the less we criticise others, totally win-win!

4. Try to let go of what you believe other people think about you. What we often think is way off the mark! You shine more brightly and love reigns when you are focused on the here and now.

5. Finally, say NO more often! How many times do you get asked to do something and you answer ‘yes’ and yet it feels like you should have said no? You end up feeling totally depleted and often resentful towards those who are asking. This classic people pleaser action is the total opposite of loving who you are, so practice taking a breath and listening to your body before you respond to any requests.

By loving and cherishing who you are, everyone will feel the surplus love that spills out from you. Now doesn’t that feel like the real essence of a true Valentine?

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