This time of the year may be synonymous with love, romance and material expressions of the like, but as the hearts and bouquets fade on social media feeds and store displays, a more significant focus should be loving one’s self, friends and family – not just for the first two weeks of February but all year round.
Love yourself first
For you to be able to give your love entirely to someone else, you must first be able to love yourself. Practicing self-love is an essential aspect of anyone’s mental health. It doesn’t mean becoming self-centered or arrogant but only learning to appreciate our qualities as an individual. It helps us to recognize any positive changes we’ve made, knowing our worth and giving ourselves the time and attention we know we deserve to better flourish as the people we are and want to become. This can all go a long way to improving our wellbeing, and once we can learn to do these things for ourselves, we will have built a strong foundation from which to give these forms of love to others.
Love your Family
No matter how old you grow or how far you go, in your family, you will always be someone’s little one and part of a support system. Once you learn to love yourself, give priority to the ones that have been there for you from the start and always want you to win: your family.
While some members of your family might not always be able to express their love for you in the ways you would like, continue your practice of appreciating individual qualities and recognizing positive changes. Put aside time for undivided attention with those relatives who need or deserve it most. These suggestions are further supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which lists communication, encouragement of individuals, time together, and expressing appreciation as some of the characteristics of strong, healthy families.
Don’t be afraid of setting the example for what a loving family member can be but also set realistic expectations and pace yourself. Remember that love cannot always fix, but it can still support. Offering a strong shoulder, objective feedback, and unconditional acceptance can make a huge difference to family members (Psychology Today, 2014).
Love your Friends
Friends are the family we choose for ourselves. If you are fortunate enough to have friends that stick by your side through good times and bad, make sure to cultivate those relationships by providing them the same support they have shown you love them back with individual attention, recognition, and appreciation.