Valentine’s Day Special Love Edition

We need more graffiti like this – shocked by the cold at Jo’s Coffee in Austin, Texas.

We need more graffiti like this – shocked by the cold at Jo’s Coffee in Austin, Texas.

As we go through different stages of life, Valentine’s Day can have so many different connotations. It can be exciting, waiting to see what your significant other has planned for you, or it can be downright depressing if you find yourself single and alone with a bottle of wine and a box of self-bought chocolates. If you ask me I think kindergartners everywhere have really nailed the holiday: hand-made cut out hearts that they happily hand out to anyone and everyone, with no notion of a deeper meaning.

Whether you participate in Valentine’s Day activities or boycott it altogether, let’s face it, it’s here to stay. I like to think of it as a reminder to practice and show our love every day, both for ourselves and others. In my work I see and hear firsthand how mean and cruel people are to themselves. Putting yourself down and criticizing yourself prevents you from living a happy and full life. If you would never fathom saying or doing something to your best friend, your partner, or the stranger next to you in line at the grocery store, don’t say or do it to yourself! The love you show others starts with the love you show yourself.

Use tomorrow as a starting point and make a special effort to show people that you care about them. But don’t let it start and end tomorrow! Let your love and kindness expand more and more each day. There’s no need to let Valentine’s Day get you down or let it overrun you with high expectations, instead, I encourage you to use this Valentine’s Day as a springboard for daily acts of kindness, love and appreciation.

With Love on This Valentine’s Day!


12 Tips for the Best Everyday Gifts: 

1. Practice small random acts of kindness. These will significantly boost your energy and make someone else’s day at the same time. The more good things you do for others, the happier you’ll be!

2. Give the gift of listening: people feel most cared for when they are listened to. Listen with an open heart and mind.

3. Withhold judgment: ask questions to understand others better.

4. Hold back on giving advice: wait for others to ask you for your advice or opinion rather than giving it freely. If you feel you really need to share your perspective then ask permission to do so. 

5. Let others know that you are there for them in a non-critical way.

6. Allow more silent moments: this helps you connect with yourself in a deeper, more meaningful way and will enhance your relationships.

7. Be more present: when we live in the present moment we make better choices for ourselves and those we are responsible for.

8. Practice empathy: putting yourself in another’s shoes can help us expand our understanding and suspend judgement.

9. Stop comparing yourself to others. We often imagine others are doing so much better than we are. The fact is, each of us is on our own path to greatness and that will look different for everyone.

10. Forgiveness: let go of the perceived wrong others have done to you and most importantly, forgive yourself for not fulfilling whatever expectations you may have set for yourself.

11. Invest in yourself. Take time to nurture and care for yourself in small ways every day. Those small changes will add up to big shifts in the outcome of your life.

12. Set 3 do-able goals for yourself to accomplish in the next 3 months. You’ll be amazed how good you’ll feel about yourself when you have accomplished them.

Eilise Ward