Have you had a good Saint Valentine? You might look for this instead!

    Have you had a good Saint Valentine? You might look for this instead!

    A complete nightmare and you might agree with me.

    As soon as December leave us, January becomes a crazy race to fill up the absence of a partner in our life.  To fit into society as a rational human being, it looks like committing in any kind of relationship is requisite to be a complete person.

    Too far from reality!

    Saint Valentine is here as every year, and the madness just has started as usual.  Social media become a pain with overwhelming wrong messages about ''ideal romantic love.'  Shops take the opportunity to make profile selling the idea of "if you love him/her then you must buy this or that. "

    Saint Valentine is always referred to as a romantic day, but there is more reason to celebrate than for those in love.  You could love your mother, your kids, your friends, a pet and yourself and that also deserve being recognised.

    Where Saint Valentine's idea comes from?

    What is known about Saint Valentine is too little. Saint Valentine (Italian: San Valentino, Latin: Valentinus), officially Saint Valentine of Rome, is a widely recognised 3rd-century Roman saint commemorated on February 14 and since the High Middle Ages is associated with a tradition of courtly love.

    Because so little is reliably known of him, in 1969 the Catholic Church removed his name from the General Roman Calendar, leaving his liturgical celebration to local calendars.

    Fall in love with yourself!

    Treat yourself! Buy something that you fancy for you. Falling in love with yourself should be easy, but the truth is that's the most laborious task in life.

    Since you are the singular most important person in your world, everything in your life flows from your relationship to yourself.  When you learn to treat yourself like someone worthy of love, compassion, and respect, your life will flow more effortlessly, abundantly and joyful than you ever imagine.  

    Treating yourself like someone worthy of disdain, and indifference will just attract the same kind of person and situation into your life, repelling your happiness.  

    The sad reality is that people never put too much effort to improve their relationship with themselves.  They tend to go through their lives as martyr blaming others for what they are unable to do: love themselves first. They expect to find someone to take that heavy responsibility from their shoulders.

    May your journey like mine not been completed yet, and believe me, it'll never be.  "Learning to love yourself is a journey, not a destination." I have come a long way in my practice to find self-happiness, self-love and I hope to inspire you to go behind your happiness too.  Because the truth is learning to love yourself is the most challenging task you will find in life.

    How to build a relationship with yourself?

    • The day-to-day. Treat yourself with respect, and consideration.  You are an important person too and deserve the same treatment that other or even better! What do your behaviours say about your relationship with yourself?

    How you behave and treat yourself will determine how you'll be treated by others.  If you don't consider yourself as a worthy person who does you think will do it?

    • Embrace your shadows. Do you accept and acknowledge the fact that you have a dark side when it surfaces? Do you embrace the part of you that can be pessimistic, lazy, depressed, crude and maybe offensive?  Or do you pretend that everything is rainbows, gumdrops, and unicorn shits? Do you act that every day is a good day?

    You must stop doing that and accept that not every day is a good day, but you could improve it! Life doesn't come with a manual of happiness or sugar packet to make your life easier.  If life were that easy, then nonsense wasted time. What makes life interesting is challenging indeed. The fact of being alive, fighting day a day, for your happiness in every breathing.

    • The deep work.  Have you honestly see yourself for who you are? Can you grasp that your imperfections are what make you perfect? Have you owned the reality that life was inflicted upon you without asking and with it came trauma, abuse, disappointment and eventually death? Do you acknowledge that these struggles will forever shape your life until you confront them and begin the healing process?

    • The highest form of love. Every single person was born with unique gifts. The gifts can be anything from athletic performance to empathy, to humour, to spirituality, to business acumen, and everything in between.

    We all are special and unique. A God gift to this earth. We have been given love to survive and make this world a better place.  But how can we do it if we even can make that change in our mind? Switch your brain to self-love stage first and then spread it!

    "The real work of learning to love yourself is learning to see who you truly are and accepting it all. Along the path, you’ll discover deep gifts that you were born with."

    The highest expression of love for yourself and the world is sharing those gifts freely and abundantly.

    So here are some tips to fulfil your cup, do and feel better.

    Prioritize sleep: aim to get enough sleep so you wake up feeling refreshed. The easiest way to do this is to get up at the same time each day and go to bed when you’re tired.

    Exercise: Spend at least 30 minutes a day 3 days a week getting decent exercise. This can be jogging, lifting, frisbee, yoga, team sports, walking, running, whatever.

    Meditation or silent reflection: personally, I practice mindfulness and stretching (kind of yoga pilates). My suggestion to you is that you experiment with a few different forms until you find one that resonates.

    Express gratitude: share your sincere appreciation for the people and circumstances around you. Or write down a few things that you’re grateful for each day. I use the Five Minute Journal for this and love it.  Writing down what are you thankful for is a therapeutic practice suggested by counsellors and psychologists.

    Hold space for your religion or spirituality: If you are religious or practice any discipline, attend services, study groups, prayer sessions, or read from the texts.

    Eat a healthy, nutrient-dense diet: if you need guidance on understanding health and nutrition, I suggest starting with Michael Pollan’s excellent (and quick) book, "Food Rule."

    Set boundaries: are you allowing toxic people, activities, or habits into your life? If so, slowly start removing them.  What goes around comes around! Move on from poisonous people and uncomfortable situations that compromise your peace of mind or your dignity.  NOT every person or circumstance deserves your presence! Get out of there and put yourself where you need to be to achieve.

    Play: are you having fun, and enjoying your day-to-day? If not, play more! Play with your kids if you have them or play with other people kids if you are allowed and willing to. Play mini-golf with your friends, or take an improv class.  Go to any gym class or community activity and enjoy it.

    Give yourself small treats throughout the day. Treat yourself to a soy latte. Watch funny videos while lying on your sofa in pyjamas all day.  Go for a walk. Call in “sick.” Wear your favourite shirt.

    Giving yourself small gifts throughout the day signals to yourself that you’re an excellent person worthy of a beautiful life.

    The more you act like someone who loves yourself, the more you’ll feel like someone who enjoys yourself.

    About your inner self: embracing your darker side.

    Some people spend their lives denying themselves and trying to escape from their reality. They fear their inner desires and pretend that they are ok when they’re broken.  That they are unafraid when they really are terrified, or that they’re calm when they are rageful, so they keep denying their true nature.

    "You are a human."  Sometimes you’re stormy.  Sometimes you’re placid. Sometimes you’re in between. You can’t be any other way.  And that’s perfect.

    So learn to embrace your shadows side:

    • Forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made.
    • Realize that it’s human to be disgusting, lazy, jealous, and aggressive from time to time.
    • Spend time alone in silence.
    • Write down how do you feel.