I have grown to love winter. It is a time of being home and laying low. A time of making soup and catching up on my ironing. A time of long, indulgent hot baths and slow starting mornings in bed with a cup of tea and a good book.
During February I will be sharing articles about Domestic Queens, Introverted Queens, Privacy Seeking Queens, Self-Loving Queens, and Literary Queens. And as always, I ask you to please share your stories on these themes.
Let’s Talk Conversation Hearts, okay?
By Wendi Knox
There’s something about those kitschy little hearts that, well….speak to me.
In fact, they just reminded me that maybe it’s time we changed our conversation about Valentines Day.
Don’t get me wrong.
I love hearts.
I love romance.
And I especially love a holiday that’s all about expressing love.
But the “sweet nothings” someone else whispers to us are not nearly as meaningful as the “not-so-sweet” things that we say to ourselves.
Whether we’re married or single, in a flourishing relationship or one that’s withering, the most important love connection we will ever make is with our own hearts.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say that every relationship in our lives is a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. (And I bet my therapist would agree.)
Where are those words of love to ourselves?
Self-love isn’t just about getting pedicures or taking bubble baths.
It’s about the words we choose and the tone we take when we talk to ourselves.
Let’s face it, not too many of us look in the mirror and say, “Hey cutie” or “Luv ya.”
In fact, if you start paying attention to your self-talk, you’ll hear things you’d never dream of saying to someone else.
We call ourselves names. (“Stupid” and “Sloppy” and “_______”. (Fill in with your favorite form of diminishment.)
We compare and contrast our lips, skin, thighs, butts, stomachs, hair, love life, children, talents and “you-name-its” to our friends and strangers, cover girls and movie stars.
We analyze, scrutinize and terrorize ourselves with a judgmental “tsk-tsk” tone.
Of course, we don’t mean to treat our precious selves so harshly. But it’s what we’re programmed to do.
Somewhere, somehow, we got the message it wasn’t “nice” to love ourselves. And that we just plain weren’t enough.
Of course, our Inner Critics took it from there.
(In fact, Edna, my Inner Critic, thinks this is my most ridiculous post yet.)
But what I’ve learned is, the more kindness, compassion, acceptance, patience and love we give ourselves, the more we receive from the outside world.
So, in the spirit of self-love, here are five Valentine gifts you could easily give yourself:
1. Baby yourself. We love babies unconditionally. Really, have you ever said “You dummy. Don’t you know how to walk yet?”
We tell them “Good try” when they teeter on their wobbly little legs. We know they’re learning and growing. And we love them for it. (Hint-hint.)
2. See the good in You. Next time you look in the mirror, instead of automatically zeroing in on what you don’t like, shift your focus.
Find something positive to say. (Even if it’s as little as “Wow, that pimple is almost gone.”) Me? I’m training myself to notice the color of my eyes instead of the dark circles under them.
3. Ask and you’ll receive. If you had a friend who looked absolutely exhausted, you probably wouldn’t say, “You look like shit.” You’d more likely ask lovingly,”Ahhh, you’ve been through it. What would make you feel better?” Take the time to listen to your answer. That’s self-love.
4. Think before you speak. When my son was in kindergarten, he was taught to ask three questions before speaking to someone: “Is it kind? Is it necessary? Is it true?” I never forgot those questions. And neither should you when talking to yourself.
5. Change the conversation. You might want to make yourself some of your own little conversation hearts. They’re not bad for your teeth. And all you need is some paper and a pen.
Just tape your own little messages on your mirror, under your pillow or whatever you could use some love.
And this year,why settle for just a Happy Valentines Day.
Why not give yourself the gift of self-love all month long.
One conversation at a time.
Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™
The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.