The theme of this month is about creating Connections. I’m not talking about Romantic love and Valentine’s Day. Although, that is what many of us think of when it comes to February. I’m talking about the most important connection….the one with ourselves. After all, that’s the one person we know we’ll always “Be” with.
But life can feel very busy. I’d venture to guess that a fair share of us may not spend much time BEing. We’re too busy DOing! With so much to do, we often put ourselves and our needs at the bottom of the priority list. And often, we don’t even make it on the list!
This February, I want to encourage us to change that and to show ourselves some LOVE!
To be honest with you, and this may sound a little silly… February used to be my LEAST favorite month. I’m not one to hate on too many things, but I really didn’t like the month of February. Thank goodness it’s the shortest month of the year!
I live in Chicago, so by this time the cold weather usually begins to take its toll. I’ve had my car broken into during the month of February two different years! And then there’s Valentines Day…. Such a seemingly harmless holiday that can intensify the feeling of love or loneliness.
Please notice I didn’t say cause or lead to the feeling of love or loneliness. The feelings becomes magnified with the focus on the holiday and the pressure we put on ourselves. And the feeling of loneliness can be there even when you have someone to spend V-Day with. Because it’s not about them. It’s about us and how we feel about ourselves.
While I’m generally a pretty happy and positive person, there was a period of time when I was in a huge rut and feeling terribly sorry for myself. All I could see and focus on were the things that I didn’t have.
- I was working hard but didn’t necessarily feel motivated or passionate.
- I was always busy and running from one thing to the next but I rarely felt a sense of satisfaction.
- I was surrounded by wonderful friends and family but it felt like our interactions were missing a depth that I craved.
- When I saw a cute couple walking down the street, I would quietly cuss them out in my head. Yep…I’m embarrassed to admit it, but it’s true!
It felt like everyone’s life was moving forward except my own. They were getting what they wanted. Why wasn’t it working out for me? What was wrong with me?
Me, me, me! It took me a while to notice how focused I had become on myself. I took things terribly personally. I was stuck in a comparison trap of should have’s, could have’s, and would have’s.
And yet, with all of this focus on myself, I wasn’t tending to my own needs. I wasn’t showing myself the love and kindness I expected from others. I was being a big bully! I was beating myself up with negative self-talk and self-defeating thoughts.
I know it’s not always easy to look at our lives and see the positives. It’s often much easier to pay attention to the negatives. The good news is that this isn’t because you’re a more negative person. It’s actually based in science!
I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel better to know this! It’s something called Negative Bias. There’s been a lot written about this concept, but I personally enjoyed this NYT article, “Praise Is Fleeting, but Brickbats We Recall” by Alina Tugend.
According to this article, “Negative emotions generally involve more thinking, and the information is processed more thoroughly than positive ones. Thus, we tend to ruminate more about unpleasant events — and use stronger words to describe them — than happy ones.”
The article also notes that, “Many good events can overcome the psychological effects of a bad one.” That ratio is, “five goods for every one bad.”
So this February I want to encourage us to show ourselves some love! Let’s cultivate a positive connection, appreciation and respect for ourselves.
Below are 5 ways to Create Connection while spreading Love and Positivity…
- The article mentions to have a kudos file. I think this is a great idea and something I started to do when I was a junior high teacher. I kept a box of letters and cards from students, friends and co-workers. It helped to remind me of the positives during challenging times.
- Keep a gratitude journal. It’s such a simple yet effective practice that helps shift our thoughts to the things we are thankful for in our life. You can sign up below for a FREE week.
- Send thank you notes. And share the reasons why you are thankful that person is in your life!
- Take time to do Random Acts of Kindness. We never know how much someone needs a positive moment in their life. My friend Erica at EricaFinds recently shared an awesome collaboration between Greatist and KIND Bar called the #28daysofkind.
- Share your smile with someone. It’s contagious:-) And it makes people feel good.
Let’s take some time to invite love into our lives by first showing love to ourselves!
Need a little inspiration? Check out this honest and entertaining TEDx talk on how Tracy Mcmillan decided to marry herself after three “so called failed” relationships.
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