It must be love: a Valentine to you

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The official day of romance is upon us and everyone seems to have an opinion about it. Expectations, cynicism, loneliness, excitement, misery, joy, mischief, apathy – I’m sure we’ve all visited one of those at some point in our lives but today I thought it was as good a time as any to take a minute to celebrate the most important relationship in all of our lives: the one we have with ourselves.

It’s pretty much impossible to write about this without sounding very self-help about it, but all too often I hear people talking down about themselves and I have done it so many times myself and still regularly do. Whether it’s to do with being overweight, agonising over something you said weeks ago, having sleepless nights over how much you have to do, beating yourself up about not getting that job, despairing over a romantic rejection, struggling to juggle work, kids, partners and everything else going on in your life, or guilt tripping yourself because you didn’t go to the gym this week (or year) I think we could all do with dialling down the self loathing a tad on this day, and every one after it.

I’m actually speed typing this before dashing out on a romantic 22-mile training run but I wanted to get a few words down to remind us all to celebrate ourselves a bit and stop being so hard on ourselves. Because really, you’re only making it worse so what’s the point? Dust yourself off and try again.

Stop comparing yourself to other people – cheesy but we are all so different. While you’re envying that skinny girl she is probably wishing she was as brainy as you; stop looking at that supposedly happy couple if you’re single and fed up, for all you know they’re having the most terrible relationship ever and wishing they had your freedom.

Don’t be hard on yourself and your body. Don’t punish a binge with starvation, don’t dwell on your self-proclaimed imperfections. Write a list about everything you like about yourself and your body and all the things you are good at.

Have a long bath with a book or magazine, buy yourself some flowers, cook yourself your favourite meal. If you have someone else around to help out with these thing then great, but you alone can treat yourself.

Think about how you would speak to a friend who came to you with the problems you punish yourself over. Would you tell him or her they’re pathetic, worthless, unlovable, deserving of that treatment or situation? Or would you tell them they had loads going for them and should get out there and be happy?

Surround yourself with the right crowd. If people criticise your way of eating, talking, laughing, your efforts to be healthy, your opinions – anything – then that’s all about them. Give ’em a big smile, it’ll annoy them and let you brush it off and get back to doing what the f*ck you like.

A couple of words of wisdom our mum tells us in difficult situations….

Fake it ’til you make it – plaster a smile on your face regardless of how awful you feel and eventually you’ll be feeling it.

You can’t eat an elephant in one go (not sure why anyone would but bear with me) – you’ve got to break it down into little bites then it’s achievable. Everything seems daunting when you look at the big picture but setting yourself smaller goals makes things seem way more possible.

This too will pass – now I am pretty sure Sandy didn’t coin this one herself but it’s a good ‘un. However bad it feels, it gets better. Always.

I will leave you with some Pinspiration for a healthy, happy Valentine’s day dedicated to yourself.

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All images taken from Pinterest

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