Journey Toward Better Self-Love this Valentine’s Day
By Nadine Briggs
On Valentine’s Day, we usually think of who we love or who loves us. But how we love ourselves is another important way to celebrate the holiday. We have unfortunately found that many of the people we coach in our program do not feel good about themselves. Their self-view is often sadly, incredibly negative.
How can we guide them to better appreciate who they are?
Before we can look forward, sometimes we need to take a step back. We have an activity that asks group members to create a timeline of notable and/or meaningful events in their lives. They are asked to note any events that had an impact on them including both positive (above the line) and negative (below the line). They are encouraged to add hardships that they had to overcome, think about how they managed, and who helped them through those times. We ask them to think about successes and accomplishments while recalling how they felt when that happened and who shared in that success. For example, my timeline looked like this:
These events, and many others not listed for the sake of brevity, shaped me into the adult I am now. As we look back on our experiences, it can build self-esteem to think, “Wow, that was a really hard time and I got through it!” or “The special times I had with my childhood friends make me want to create similar experiences with my friends now”.
This exercise allows us to reflect on who we are now based on how far we have come. It shows us that those hard times shaped us by making us stronger and wiser, even though at the time, we might have felt hopeless. This sets up our mindset to be ready to take on whatever comes our way. We can also look back on our timeline and think of times when maybe we didn’t handle ourselves in a way that makes us proud today. We gain in the knowledge that we are works in progress and now know that, should a similar challenge present itself to us again, we will be ready with a better response.
We also remind our group members that they live each day to the best of their ability. We want them to focus on their intentions and efforts to be the best they can be. When they feel like they fall short of their own (and others’) expectations, they know that those moments are just bumps on the bottom of their life’s journey timeline.
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