This Valentine’s Day has been a different experience for me than any before. I can’t remember the last time I didn't have someone I was sharing this holiday with.
What started out as a day full of workflows and aspirations quickly turned into a reminder of what used to be—the expressions of love everywhere the eye can see, the social post, and the additional use of heart emojis in text.
I was fully prepared for this to be a burdensome day when something incredible happened. A series of events transpired over the course of just a few moments that completely changed my perspective.
It started with a close friend posting a message about loving yourself, and was immediately followed with a one-liner on the radio— “Grace is the combination of Faith and Love”. Shortly after that, I received a message from someone going through a difficult time who was reaching out to me for advice and encouragement.
This particular sequence of events spawned a series of questions:
‘What does it truly mean to love yourself?’
‘How do I love myself after my spouse left me?’
‘What are some practical steps to focus on loving yourself?’
This conversation led me to share some of the practices I have learned over the past several months in hopes of making it a little bit easier for anyone currently going through a major life change. Let it be known, I am by no means an expert in this and I would highly recommend seeking professional counseling if you feel you’re going through such a change.
In order to love yourself, you first have to learn how to accept yourself. Recognize your flaws, grow from some and admit the ones that you can’t change. 85% of what we worry and stress about is completely out of our control. Nothing more than wasted energy.
If you are considering a practical way to keep your body strong and your mind sharp, try intense physical exercise. There’s something about being active that refreshes your mind and really helps get you outta that funk.
Spend time with People who Build you up.
I’m not talking about when your parents tell you they’re proud of you even when you come in last place. I’m talking about the people who always seem to make you smile, the people who can brighten any mood, and the people who seek what’s best for you regardless of how it affects them.
This also means spending less time with people who bring you down or are constantly pessimistic about their own lives.
Be Honest with Yourself
Do the work. Have the hard conversations with yourself—don’t sugar coat it either! Ask the hard questions, and then ask the why behind your answer. This goes hand in hand with accepting yourself, because you can’t accept someone you can’t be honest with.
A good place to start is coming up with three things you like about yourself and three things you would change. Try and stay away from physical attributes.
You can also look at past conversations and pinpoint what sets you off. This will usually coincide with something about yourself that you’re not willing or able to accept.
Be Honest with Others
After you've done the personal work, share with your friends! I’m willing to bet that more people than you realize can understand and even identify with it. That’s how true, deep relationships are formed with people who will have your back when you are at your lowest.
Show Yourself Grace
At the end of the day, the most importing thing in this world is grace. Nothing feels better than unexpected, undeserved grace. Love yourself and others, even through failure. Have faith that you will come out of trying times a stronger, more refined person.
That last bit is still hard for me. Being mostly introverted I’m constantly over-analyzing past scenarios thinking of what I should have done differently. How one circumstance handled differently would result in a completely different trajectory.
Showing myself grace means admitting that I was equally at fault for the negative aspects of our marriage, but also realizing I did the best with what I had at the time. It means reminding myself that I was willing to stay committed to my wife despite what she did and that a quality I never thought I’d be willing to consider.
At the end of the day, just the fact that you took the time to read this and are making steps to becoming a better person will pay dividends for years to come. It’s easy to blame other people for problems in life, it takes a truly mature person to look inward and pursue the change you desire.
Have other tips for people dealing with major change? Leave them in the comments below and be sure to like this post if you want similar post in the future.