My alarm clock gave up the ghost after I assaulted the snooze button one time too many. Enjoying the warmth of my down comforter and unwilling to give up on my happy dream, I just burrowed down further into the bed. Unfortunately, that self-righteous cerebral cortex of mine, recognized the time, and decided to take matters into her own hands. By alerting the adrenal gland that not only was I running late, but I also had apparently decided to ignore that fact; she set into motion what would be the start of a very stressful day!
Together they timed their assault.
The CC bombarded once-idle thoughts with my busy agenda for the day, As the information began to sink into my consciousness, AG flooded my body with cortisol (the stress hormone) to ensure that the seriousness of my situation would be fully realized.
I was late!
My eyes shot open and I sat straight up in bed, peacefulness gone, armed with a thousand little thoughts and realizations that fought for my cognitive attention. Speedily dressing, brushing, applying make-up, I knew there would be no time for coffee. Ugh. I hurriedly gathered up the needed files for the day, and rushed to the door. As I passed the living room mirror, I glanced at the image and thought, “Wow, you look terrible!” Then I stopped.
Would I have said that to someone else? Probably not. It would have been hurtful, not at all helpful and actually possibly damaging. But the words sprang up, unbidden, unwanted and spontaneously judgmental. And when those few little thoughts, rose up from the unconscious to the conscious, I had to wonder where they had been hiding out?
So I stopped and took another look. I straightened the collar protruding at a weird angle out of my jacket, fluffed up my flat hair and wiped the lipstick off of my teeth. I didn’t look terrible, just hurried.
Could this be you too? Too often, when frustrated or stressed, some people go right to the negative. Understanding the power of words, we try so hard not to be negative with others. However, we are not quite so charitable when judging ourselves.
I often write about the importance of self-care. And when I write about self-care, it makes sense to everyone who works in a service profession. Statistical research bears out the need for intentional strategies to combat secondary trauma.
But what if I write about self-love? Some helpers are often so busy taking care of everyone else, (showing them care and acceptance) that the concept of loving themselves is avoided as egotism. Egotism and Narcissism should not be equated with self-love. Egotism is driven by an inflated opinion of one’s personal features and importance; created by an exaggerated vision of ones self and self importance. In other words, egotist believe they are superior to others, but self-love means the acceptance that you are good enough: the best you that you can be at this moment in time. Self-love means to give yourself the same benefit of the doubt that you give to others.
Many relationships fall onto rocky ground because of the absence of self-love in one or both of the couple. When we walk around in self-judgement, giving credence to our own negative thoughts about appearance, intelligence, accomplishments; it becomes easy to perceive innocent comments made around us to be negative. You’ve heard of self-fulfilling prophecy, well it works something like that. When one doesn’t feel deserving of love, they find it hard to trust even the relationships that are healthy and strong. When you feel lovable, you are also able to show love more freely.
I went to a workshop once where we were instructed to hold a mirror to our faces and give ourselves affirmations. Of course, I thought it was silly, but I complied. Nothing electric happened for me.
The instructor then charged us with the homework of looking in the mirror every night before bed and repeat the affirmations. To be honest, it still felt silly. But you know what else it felt?
I found that, with repetition, it not only became easier to give positive feedback to that face in the mirror, but it also became easier to understand the words as truth.
That’s why I was so surprised the morning I shot myself down with a negativity blast. But I was able to immediately check myself and remember the really cool person looking back at me. I liked her. She was worthy of love, worthy of esteem and she was the best her she could be in that moment.
So the challenge for your Valentine’s Day is to send one to yourself. Maybe not literally (or maybe so) …as you could keep it to remind yourself that self-love is important. Telling the ones you love how you feel should never be isolated to one day. You should tell them often and well. Commit the same intentionality with yourself. Repeat after me…
I am good. I am smart. I am brave. I have worth. I am beautiful. I am loved.
Because you are.
Happy Valentine’s Day