Most of the people I know either love or hate Valentine’s Day. Personally, I’m delighted by red satin, pink hearts and flowers, but not everyone shares that sentiment. A guy at the deli yesterday called it Singles’ Awareness Day and a friend of mine objected, “If you want to give someone a gift, just do it. Don’t wait for a particular day of the year!” I sent her a Valentine’s Day card before I found that out 0:-)
And for some people, the day either feels like too much pressure or just plain exclusive. That’s why I’ve included some things you can do to celebrate love throughout the year, even if you're not dating.
#1 Change your state
When we’re in a bad mood, even if the skies are blue and sunny, they might as well be dark and gloomy. It’s time for a good meal, connecting with a friend, or an uplifting meditation. I say “uplifting” because some people go to dark places when they’re meditating alone. Personally I like to go to good places in my head and stay there a while; I recall good memories and re-vivify them, and do the same for my clients. Revivifying positive memories is great for our mood, and rewires our brain for positivity and happiness. Then we notice the love that’s available rather than staying in a “nobody loves me” funk. It also helps build secure attachment, but that’s another article.
#2 Do things that feed your soul
Do you love to dance or make art or cook Italian? Living your passions is one way of cultivating self-love and building confidence at the same time. I probably don’t need to go on and on about the importance of self love, but when we think we’re fabulous, other people are more likely to also. And it just feels good to love yourself. Speaking as someone who didn’t use to do that, I can tell you — it makes life a lot more enjoyable.
#3 Start a gratitude practice
During a 30 Day Challenge, I once practiced writing 3 things I was grateful for every night for a month. It's a nice way to find appreciation for simple things, build contentment, and love what you have instead of questing after what you don’t. It’s a deceptively simple practice that trains your brain to begin recognizing the love that’s there. You can also express some of this gratitude; speak your appreciations out loud, to friends or strangers.
Solely focusing on our own happiness and pleasure is rarely fruitful in the longterm. Find ways to express care for others, whether that’s volunteering, giving someone a compliment, helping a friend in need, or surprising someone with a kind word or small gift to let them know you’re thinking about them.
#5 Start noticing love everywhere
Love is not only a deep lasting bond with a partner or a full-body endorphin-laden cocktail; it can be found in the micro-moments of connection between people. A smile from a stranger; a compliment from the restaurant server. The next time you get a hug from a friend, practice receiving (while respecting your friend’s length-of-hug boundaries of course). Let these moments build your resource of happiness, like refilling a water jug throughout the day. Practice love hydration.
Keep on loving! <3