As I shared in my Valentine’s newsletter last year, Love is more than saying “I love you.” It is a feeling in our hearts that expresses that we appreciate one another and that we simply care. Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to share what and how others bring happiness and value into our lives across all of their facets. We can’t underestimate the beautiful ripple effects of wellbeing that we each can create at home and at work for ourselves and for others, and it all begins with loving ourselves.
Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to reflect about how I love and honor myself, which ripples out to how healthy my relationships with others are.
While we all want love, no one can love me as much as I can love myself. The greater is my self-esteem and the acceptance of who I am, the more I love myself, the less judgmental I am of myself, and the less judgmental I am of others. In observing how healthy my relationship with myself is, I can ascertain how my view of myself makes me more or less loving towards others. There is so much that I learn about love by simply being transparent with myself about how good a friend I am to myself.
Over the years, working closely with individuals and leaders across generations and cultural backgrounds, I have always invited trusted exchanges in total confidentiality about how our ability to love ourselves leads to improved understanding of how we can better care for the people we serve and lead. In taking the time to understand ourselves, to really know whether we can have an open heart or not, we can better appreciate the capacity that we have to create positive environments around us, at home and in the workplace within our teams, our boards and organizations.
Drop these pebbles of what love would do on Valentine’s Day in your internal pond, and witness love creating ripples that touch and benefit countless others:
As you wake up on Valentine’s Day, appreciate being alive, and love yourself more by doing something for yourself. Maybe you simply don’t rush to the office and you allow yourself to take the time to enjoy a cup of coffee in the comfort of your home, grateful for a simple and delightful pleasure that you cherish. Or maybe you take the time to stop at your favorite coffee shop to treat yourself for breakfast. In loving yourself, embrace one change about yourself that can make you more loving towards yourself and others.
Forgive a loved one when you know that you are being unnecessarily stubborn. Reach out to someone whom you cared for and haven’t seen in a while. Don’t fear connecting while you and another are both alive and can benefit from being friends or loving family members again– if anything, find a way to be at peace with all.
When you share a Valentine’s Day card, give one where you mean every word. Otherwise, write original words that are authentic and express your true feelings. I can spend hours searching for the right card for both my husband and my mother.
At home, consider being fully present as you prepare breakfast for your partner and/or your children without thinking about all that you have to accomplish during the day. Savor the moment, and invite others to do the same. Do something that you haven’t done in a while in service to another, knowing that that something will give them joy and make them feel loved.
Be Respectful and Be Kind
Take the time to stand up and to greet people who walk into a meeting. Show up on time, and let those expecting you know in advance if you’ll be late. Be polite and patient with all who serve you at the restaurant, at the hospital, at the post office, at the airport…realize how many they serve beyond you!
Let people know that they are valued and that they have your support. Surprise colleagues by leading a special meeting constructively asking how to improve cooperation and employee morale. Listen with empathy and commit to promptly act on an action item where there is a clear need for change.
Connect with Others
Drop by to say hello to your grandmother who lives nearby; pick up the phone and call your son. Take the time to connect voice-to-voice, face-to-face when you know it is possible. Don’t resist the human touch.
If you feel trapped and don’t truly feel the love with people closest to you, find the courage to look at what restrains love from flowing from yourself to others and vice versa. Avoid blaming. You must ask yourself where and how love can exist and be nurtured. Don’t be afraid to let go of relationships that are not healthy and to heal the relationships that can be.
Wellbeing with ourselves and others at home and in the workplace is truly experienced when we care to be loving to each other through our communication and actions, beginning with loving ourselves. We can make this Valentine’s Day an opportunity to add a new lens to our hearts to help us bring about the changes that we care to see in any of our relationships, inclusive of business.
I wish you a wonderful Valentine’s Day with your loved ones. I invite you to find the capacity to speak and act from your heart.