This Year, Be Your Own Valentine

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I'm a perfectionist, and I don't like to trouble other people with my problems. As a result, I'm sometimes quite hard on myself. Recently, I found myself in quite a jam, and I had no choice but to call a friend for help. I braced myself for her reaction. Rather than judge me, she was gentle and kind.

Her generosity, compassion and kindness were a wake-up call to me. I was shocked--not by her behavior, but by my reaction. And I vowed to go easier on myself.

A few nights later, I was reading the Pema Chodron book "Comfortable with Uncertainty: 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion." I seem to stumble upon Pema's teachings when I am most in need of guidance. That night I reread teaching #15, Not Causing Harm. This excerpt is what seemed prophetic:"It's a lifetime's journey to relate honestly to the immediacy of our  experience and to respect ourselves not to judge it. As we become more wholehearted in this journey of gentle honesty, it comes as a shock to realize how much we've blinded ourselves to the ways in which we cause harm." (Emphasis mine.)

I read that passage several times, each time pausing to reflect on how I do this in my life. In an effort to be a more mindful person, I qualified and judged myself rather than employing gentle honesty.

Since then I've made a concerted effort to go easier on myself, to observe rather than judge my actions, and to  treat myself the way my friend treated me, and the way I treat those I love: with gentle honesty.

As we prepare to celebrate the day that we traditionally express love to others, let us take the time to express our love for ourselves. After all, the relationship we have with ourselves is our most valuable yet the one to which many of us devote the least amount of effort.

Today, write yourself a love letter. Write yourself a Valentine. Praise yourself. Apply all those cheesy clichés about love to yourself.

Here's a template to get you started (with a version you can save and print for yourself at the bottom):

Dear Self,

Today is Valentine's Day. Since you are the most important person in my life, I wanted to write you a letter. Thank you for always ____________.

I respect you because _______. What I love most about you is ____.

I know sometimes I can be hard on you, forget to thank you for all you do, and even treat you poorly, but please know that I love you. I promise to _______.

Each time I drag you out of bed early for a workout, make you skip that second helping, or ask you to please get off the couch and get moving, know that I do it out of love. I want us to be around for a long time, and I want those years to be memorable and full of adventure.

Each day I get to spend with you, living this life to the fullest, is a true gift. You are my one true love, and I will always respect and care for you.


Go ahead. Write yourself a letter. You can be funny, serious, sarcastic, or sappy--just be honest. You don't have to share it with anyone else. Just make sure that you know that you love you, and that you say it often--and mean it.

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Wow!! Motivational! You're in the right place and good for you for sharing!
Thank You ; ) Report
I love this idea... and it would be a good thing to do more than just on valentines day too! Report
what a wonderful idea, we are always hard on ourselves and we need to remember how fabulous we all are. thx for sharing Report
Love it! Report
hmmm... Report
thanks something to really think about Report
I love the teachings of Pema Chodron. I have read and reread most of her books and still turn to them when I am having trouble with loving myself, compassion or anxiety. I gift her books often to my friends and family. Report
I love this and never would have thought of doing it myself. I often tell myself things that I would never say to my husband or children. I have been working on it, but still have a ways to go. Thanks for the inspiration! Report
awesome! Report
awesome! Report
I've copied and pasted so that I can do this tomorrow. thanks Report
I am going to do this tonight. Great idea. it might be fun to mail it so I have so mail too. Report
Wow. What an eye-opener for me! Even my DH tells me I'm way too hard on myself, and he's right. Thanks for a much needed letter!! Report
I love it, and how true. Thats one thing I can say for myself that I can bet myself up and but myself down,, But I never tell myself that you look good you done well, great job today. Even though I could have just 1 little failure in a day I will comdem myself for it..Even thought I could have had 100 other good things..I will write myself the latter and ask forgiveness too Report
Oh my. What a wake up call this is for me. I am so hard on myself and you don't realize it until you read something like this. Well done. Report
@DMSGLASS: Yes! I completely agree with you.
I've taught yoga on Valentine's Day a few years in a row, and I always say the same thing to my students: Let today be just ONE of the 365 days a year that you express and cultivate love for yourself and those around you.

Thanks for the support and kind words, everyone. I was a little nervous about posting this blog. Report
It's important to do this every day, not just one day out of the year. Another challenge in changing our daily habits. Just as you shouldn't wait for a "hallmark holiday" to tell others that you love them, neither should you wait to tell yourself. Report
Love this!!! As a single person, this is a wonderful idea instead of the self-gifting of a box of chocolates. Thank you for sharing. Report
I love this Stepfanie! Report
So true yet so hard to put into practice! Thank you for sharing. Report
This is a very cute way to address a very serious topic... I like it!!!
When I learned to be my own best friend is when everything started to change ~it's an amazing gift that only you can give yourself. Don't overlook how important & amazing you are. Treat yourself with kindness, love & compassion. Stop the negative talk-it takes a bit to train yourself to speak kindly & stop all the negative talks in your head -just keep at it & soon the light goes on & you finally are able to "love" yourself, "accept" yourself & most importantly be your own best friend! Great article...thanks for sharing it. Report
I'm working on this, but it's tough changing 50+ years of being hard on myself.
Beautiful! Report
Since I have retired I have realized how ridiculous the expectations were that I had for myself when I was working. Sometimes, I can't even keep up with the housework and yard work being home all the time. Why on earth did I expect it of myself when I was working? Unrealistic expectations. I am the queen. I am working on it. It takes a full day to clean this house. It cannot be done in 4 or 5 hours. The vacuum can only go so fast. It takes 15-20 minutes to fold a load of whites and put them away. It can't be done in 10. Believe me. I've tried. Report
That is so wonderful, a beautiful idea and reminder..I'm often times hard on myself and this just reminds me that it doesn't have to be that way. Report
I am very hard on myself. I set the bar very high and expect to live up to it. Only health issues have made me realize that I can't do everything. Report
What a beautiful reminder that self love has to come first. The letter is a great, concrete tool for your readers (and me) to use. Thank you for sharing this. Report
Loved your blog! It is very difficult to offer the same kindness to ourselves as our friends. I, too, am much more critical of myself. I will print this out and give it a try! :o) Report
This is a tough one! I didn't come up with anything positive, that makes me sad. I am going to work on filling in the blanks with positive things. Others see good things in me, I need to! Report
I agree and love this message but there is this quote that i disagree with
"After all, the relationship we have with ourselves is our most valuable yet the one to which many of us devote the least amount of effort."
I think we give a lot of effort to our selves it is just not positive its self criticism
and put downs We must start listen to what we say to our self than we change. Report
Love it! Great idea!! And I'm planning on following through with writing one. =) Report
will do Report
Thanks, lovely idea. Report
lol! This was our challenge this week!!! We have the LOVE YOURSELF | LOVE YOUR BODY group. Love that you did this!! Report
Awesome Blog. Love the Idea very much. God Blessings to Everyone. Have a Wonderful Week. Take Care. Report
I so needed this prompt - I agree with MAUVEBEAR3 - so easy to think of things to say about another person, but totally stuck when it comes to myself! I am going to do this. I have also bought myself a little necklace and put it in an envelope on my pinboard with 'February 14th Happy Valentine's Day'. I think I might post my letter to myself - because I know that receiving it would be a very powerful message to myself! Report
I love this. don't know if I can come up with answers but am going to give it a shot - just for me Report
This is the absolute best blog I think I have ever read. Yes, I am going to write myself a letter the same as I have written to people I love. I love myself and will always let myself know this. Report
Amazing how quickly I can fill in those blanks when I am thinking of friends and family members but, Wow, I certainly hit a snag when I tried to do it for myself. I really need to take a closer look on the thoughts that I let go on in my head about how I see myself. I definitely need to work on my self-image and how kind I am really being to myself. Report
I love myself and it helps me love others. Report
We definitely need to show ourselves more love! Thank you for a beautiful way to express that. Report
THANK YOU for the idea
Lately, I have been harder on myself than anyone else
LOVE and BLESSINGS, Dear Spark Friends ! Report
Thank you for this! I love it, and I love Pema Chodron. What a perfect way to celebrate this Valentine's Day. Report
Your readings reminded me of the 4 Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz which I consistently have to reference. One of the agreements "Be impeccable with your word "really resonates for me....being kind, thoughtful, gentle with your words is an important mantra for me...not so much when talking with others but with myself who I seem to think can take nothing but criticism. So...a constant focus...extending the generosity and love, that I share with others so easily, to myself
Thanks for the reminder...always good to know others share my challenge in this area and can support me :) Report
This is one of the hardest exercises that I have to do, but it is also the most important. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Report
At first I thought this was a cheesy idea, but then I realized - cheesy or not, I do need to make more of an effort to accept myself. I'm going to give this a try. Report
My first reaction was YUCK!
I am not ready for this, but I will consider it. Report
I agree this is important. If it feels awkward, then you need to do it! Report
This blog entry at first annoyed me, then intrigued me. I'm not quite certain how to approach it. That's what tells me it's necessary. So tomorrow, I print this out and fill it out. And it inspired me to tell my closest friends how important THEY are to me as well. Report