This Valentine’s Day will you be having a love affair with……… Yourself?

What are you doing to celebrate this year’s International day of Love, that special day when we are meant to prioritise and honour our most intimate relationship with another?
And yet, the most intimate relationship you can have is with yourself. When do you celebrate that? How do you prioritise that intimate relationship with yourself? What special events do you create to let yourself know that you are loved and appreciated by you?
Just like a loving relationship with another, you don’t have to limit showing your affection to one day a year (see last year’s post on Valentine’s Day).  Show yourself as often as you can how much you love you.  Here are some things you can do to show yourself how special you are.  You might do it on Valentine’s Day, but you could do it throughout the year and celebrate that most intimate of relationships- the one with yourself.

Date Night

When was the last time you went on a date with yourself? Have you ever had a treat for yourself? Don’t you deserve that special time? Time away from your spouse, kids, family and friends just to be with yourself. It could be a walk alone. And it might be a weekend break in a five star hotel in New York or deep in nature. Or it could be night in.
Whatever lights you up that shows you that you care about you. You appreciate how hard you work and the effort you make. And even without that, you are worthy of some special care, affection and joy.  Why not take some time out and do something that you love for you. That might involve others. Or not. What’s important is that you recognise that you are doing it for you.
Because you are worth it.

Self-care

Make time to show yourself how much you care

I listen to people tell me how they bully themselves into working longer hours, getting up earlier, going to bed later, driving themselves at the desk and the gym regardless of how they might be feeling. As if to listen to your body when it is tired or in need of a break is a weakness. And then it is no wonder you get knocked sideways by a cold or backache that has you in bed for a week. Or a more serious medical condition.

Self-care is perhaps the most loving thing you can do for yourself. You would care for another. Why would you not care for yourself?
One of the toughest lessons I have learned has been self-care.  I used to drive myself all the time and all it did was satisfy my sense of taking action…… and make me exhausted, irritable and not much fun to be around.  I had to relearn that the relaxing bathes at the end of the day, a sleep-in when I feel I need it, a walk in the fresh air as a break, a two week holiday (or more), healthy food, a good film, time with friends, nice-feeling clothes, a treat day alone or with a special someone were important for my well-being and actually increased my capacity to work and LIVE well. These are all events you can make time for to show yourself that you care.

Fun

Games and fun are not something you can do as a kid or with kids. Sure, you can make life all serious. But if you can find a way to enjoy what you do, have fun, laugh, smile and enjoy yourself, life becomes enriched and more rewarding. And don’t you have more fun with the people in your life you love most?
It is a rejuvenating thing to have have fun with friends and family, but when did you have fun or pleasure on your lonesome? When did you last go for a walk alone for pleasure? Or a cycle or drive? If there was a film you wanted to see but no one else did, did you go alone and enjoy it? Or the pleasure of reading, listening to audiobooks or music. Cooking alone, gardening, making or building things. Or just dancing your heart out alone in your living room when you were in the house on your own?
Fun helps to build that love affair with yourself, just as it does with another person. Invest that time in whatever way you enjoy and see how your love blossoms.

Celebration

When was the last time you celebrated a win? We are not encouraged to celebrate our successes. Is it arrogance? Self-indulgence? Once we have achieved something we will often just move on to the next thing. We might reflect on it to consider what we could have done better. There is benefit from that and great learning. Less likely is a conscious celebration of a job well done. There is great learning in that too.
Try it. The next task you perform, be it as mundane as the dishes, celebrate whatever you did that you are proud of or pleased with. If you need something bigger, celebrate your contribution to a project. What did you do well? What comfort zones did you step out of or challenges did you overcome? Are you pleased how you responded to this person or that conflict? Did you surprise yourself with your leadership, presence, confidence, humility, patience, drive, insight, support. Did you get it in on time or early? Can you celebrate your perseverance?
Whatever you celebrate, take time to savour it. Let that good feeling linger. Perhaps do your celebration dance and reward yourself with a treat- what will make you feel good and valued by you for the effort and hard work you dedicate yourself to?

Gratitude and Appreciation

So often, we are driven by our inner critic. As humans we seem to have learned that chastising ourselves is a way to get better results out of ourselves. To me this seems like a cruel regime that would be better approached with kindness, care and love.
A few years ago when my inner critic was rampant, I started with a gratitude journal. Every night I would write, or simply think, what I appreciated about my day: the kindness of people, the sun, nice food, a pleasant walk or cycle, particular people in my life. I struggled to get five in the list. But soon it grew to 10 and then 20 as I began more and more to see what I was grateful for. And then I had a further breakthrough………. I added myself to the list!!!! I appreciated the effort I made, how I tried and never gave up and so on.
That gratitude diary changed my relationship with myself as I learned to see myself with pleasure, respect, appreciation and even awe. I have developed a love for myself. Not in a narcissistic way. Rather in a manner that I am a cheerleader and advocate for myself. Some days are better than others and I just stick to the list of five. More often than not it is much more than that.

Coaching

One of the most loving things you can do is speak to another about what is most important to you.  To have a meaningful conversation in which you feel heard, seen and supported in a non-judgemental way.  Where there are no holds barred and you are open so that you can benefit from your truth and vulnerability.
Friends, family and colleagues can be a place to do that.  But sometimes it is not always appropriate and people close to you have all kinds of involvements and stakes in your life that can make it challenging to be non-judgemental and listen without assumptions or prejudice.  Sometimes you need a dedicated person, time and space to speak freely.  A client recently said that coaching was “me time”. A place to think, talk and plan. It is also a space to learn, reflect, challenge and grow. Don’t you deserve that too?
Coaching is great for supporting you in living that beautiful quality of life you desire for yourself. Assigning that hour every week or so is sacred time to focus on what you want and need to make life better for you and those you share it with.
Sometimes that means standing up for what you believe in. Other times it requires you to say “no”. Sometimes you’ll see patterns and preferences that no longer serve you and hold you back from achieving your dreams. And you’ll cultivate resources that make you more confident, stronger, more focused and more compassionate with yourself.
All to say that you will live more fully the life you want and deserve. What a gift? You deserve to be fulfilled and live a life that feels like it has meaning and purpose. How would that be for a Valentine’s gift for yourself?

Over to You

How do you show yourself how much you care?  When do you make time to cultivate your relationship with yourself?  When was the last time you did something you really wanted to do?  How was it?  Are you craving some personal time and self-care?  What do you need to do to make that happen?  What excuses do you come up with to stop yourself?  How would life be different if you took time out to show some appreciation and gratitude for yourself?  I’d love to know what you are doing to show yourself how much you care about yourself.  Please share in the comments or if you prefer, you can e-mail me at david@potentialitycoaching.co.uk

Pass it on

Know someone in need of some self love?  Why not forward this blog to them to remind them how important it is to show yourself love.

Coaching to Freedom

Are you regularly set back from achieving your goals?  Do you make choices that move you away from what feels right to you, good to you, fulfilling to you?  Can you ask for help when you feel you need it, want it?  What are the costs to you for living this way?  Your well-being, freedom, isolation, fulfilment, pain, suffering, physical and mental health? And what are you tolerating while you live this way?  Would you like it to be different?

 

The purpose of coaching is defined by ICF (International Coaching Federation) as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential.”

For me this means raising clients’ awareness so that they see the truth of their potential as well as the truth of the ways in which they may limit themselves from living that potential.

Coaching brings the Truth to the Fore

This is true for all my clients. One in particular that illustrates this well is Judith who, from session one, had spoken about herself as one who wished to help others.  Even though she didn’t call it this, she identified with the Mother archetype so strongly- nurturing, supporting, togetherness, inspiring, teaching, wisdom, compassion, mentoring and nourishing towards others. This is what she wanted to do at the very core of her being.

She had tried this role in many areas of her life previously.  But had been knocked back every time. Consequently, she shrank inward and settled for a less fulfilled version for herself.

Coaching brought this truth to the fore. She wanted life to be different and found it hard to ask for help and support. She needed space, quiet and time to self-resource and so she had to ask for that space, quiet and time. And this was something she found hard to ask for.

Asking for Help

Not asking for it meant that she became angry and frustrated because she did not feel like she had the capacity to be that nurturing Mother archetype she wanted to embody.

It would be all too easy for her to see that anger and frustration from a place of negativity and self-judgement. By taking responsibility for how she chose to view this situation, she could choose to see it through the lens of love and self-appreciation/ gratitude or negativity and self-judgement. She was free to choose.

She noticed that if she chose one path, she felt bad about herself and she was caught up in anger, frustration and self-recrimination. This led her to play small and be dominated by fear. When she chose the alternative, she showed up with more confidence, power, love, calm and connection. And she gave the encouragement, inspiration and role-modelling she wished to give, hoped to give.

Choice leads to Freedom

So, she practised choosing. And found that when she was choosing love and gratitude for herself, she was showing up as the nurturing woman she wanted to be. At home and at work, she was offering guidance and support from her strength and confidence and it came very naturally.

By seeing her truth and acknowledging how she was limiting herself, with compassion, she was able to lovingly give herself choice and freedom over how she was being at any given moment in her life. Suddenly, at work she had shifted from an angry colleague to one who engaged with and wanted to be involved in the improvement of what happened at work. She found herself taking the initiative and seeking support from other colleagues to help her fulfil her desired roles.

She had moved from disempowered and struggling to inspired and leading. Seeing the truth with love and compassion had given her freedom. These three are the foundations of any spiritual practice, regardless of religion, tradition, culture, place or time. Therefore, coaching and, in particular, listening, are spiritual acts for me. They open the doors for people to become their full selves. With that inner guiding light, a person can guide themselves towards greater and greater freedom.  As well as role-model and inspire others to do the same.

Over to You

What are you doing to live your full potential?  Are you allowing your self to take the options that are disempowering and unfulfilling?  What would life look like is you made choices that reinforced your love for life and passion in your work?  Are you willing to look at the truth of your situation and make choices that move you towards that potential?  What would life be like if you carried on as you are for the next ten years?  And how would it be different if, for the next decade, you made choices that aligned with your truth?  I’d love to know your thoughts.  And if you would like any support with exploring your truth and how to live it more fully, get in touch and we can discuss how to make that happen.

Pass it on

Like this post?  Then please pass it on to anyone you know who would benefit from it.