With Valentines Day on the way, my newsfeed has been flooded with articles like, “How to make him yours by February 14th,” “Fun things to do with your Significant Other This Valentines Day,” or “Buy Her A Gift She Won’t Forget.” All of these headlines typically go in one ear, and come out the other. One article however, resonated with me and the work that I do for Walden. “What if you simply devoted this year to loving yourself more?”

My mind automatically began generating witty sarcastic comments that I was planning to add to this post once I shared it to my own page.

-“As Ashleigh Brilliant once said, ‘I may not be much but I’m all I think about.'”

-“Because focusing on myself would be a NEW thing, LOL!”

-“Nah. It’s easier to maintain blissful self-disregard.”

Okay. Not witty, but telling. Anytime my humor steps in to self-deprecate it’s a bit of a red flag that reads, “Dig here! Questions need to be asked!”

Why is it hard to sit still with the idea of loving myself more?

Is it because I don’t know how to? Do I think I don’t deserve compassion, my own or anyone else’s? Do I see self-love as arrogant, self-obsessed, or selfish? Interesting questions indeed.

I’m the first to admit that I focus on myself plenty; the problem is, I’m not very good company for myself sometimes. I can be critical, perfectionistic, and demanding. I often put too much on my plate, make lists of ideas and plans, expecting somehow I will do it all, and do it all well. When I fall short (which is often), I’m not so forgiving. I am annoyed, angry, disappointed. I am my own easiest target, hurling “should haves” around.

Today I am aware that this strategy isn’t helpful. Resenting the very fact that I am human that has flaws and limitations isn’t going to work for me. It does not make me more productive or comfortable in my own skin. It definitely doesn’t help me connect with others in a positive way. These are all the things I desire most!

So what to do?

Because I didn’t start right when the clock turned midnight on January 1st (which is when many people decide needs to be the day to begin anything), I’m going to begin now. I can embark today on an odyssey of self-compassion. I can look for people who are doing this, teaching this, having some success. I can invite you to join me.

First, I’m answering the question for myself: What if I simply devoted this year to loving myself more?

I would enlarge my capacity for self- compassion and probably compassion for others as well; I would spend more time observing and appreciating my own beauty-inner and outer. I would give myself a break, accepting and rejoicing in the fact that I am one among many, trying to matter in this world. I would probably laugh more and sleep better. I think I’d love others more deeply. I think I would be more comfortable in my skin.

I’m willing to bet I’d be happier.

Second, I can find out how self-compassionate I am right now-to get a “baseline”.

Researchers have devised a quiz to measure this very thing. The quiz is quick and easy. According to my score, I have some work to do. Luckily, they provide links to exercise for immediate practice!

Third, I am going to be the best Valentine for myself, than I’ve ever had before.

What You Can Do: You can start by exploring self-compassion too. Join me in exploring research-based strategies like the ones listed on the website listed below.

What You Can Do Today: How self-compassionate are you these days? You can find out. Take the quiz at www.self-compassion.org