During February, much time and attention are given to how we should show love to our loved ones. Some of these instructions will be to spend more quality time, give specific gifts, or make elaborate expressions of love and commitment. Most of us can see through the marketing schemes of these “teachings,” but when we are desperate to make something work or scared if we don’t follow them, the relationship will fall apart, then we do it… temporarily.
So the question is, what would indeed be the best Valentine’s gift to the loved ones in your life?
You. But not only you, the BEST version of you possible. If you could do that without it being a facade, would you?
1) Identify What You Know You Could Improve
All of us have these areas. We are looking at things within our control, and we know we could be better at them, but they are a struggle. Some common things I know that I’ve been guilty of, and I most often work with people on, are: being passive-aggressive, reacting impulsively before thinking through a response, lashing out, and shutting down when emotionally overwhelmed. All of these may have perfectly rational reasons for why they happen, but are they things you will keep forever? Are they a part of what makes you the best you possible in life? If not, let us keep going.
2) Recognize the Current Roadblocks
What has kept you in these old patterns of behavior and not being the best version of yourself? Most of the time, these are learned responses from past events, sometimes traumatic ones, and they were ways you protected yourself and kept yourself intact through those difficult moments. It can be hard to let go of things that previously worked for you… but they are not anymore. These negative behaviors are additional ways that past person or event is still impacting you daily, and there is hope to let go and move forward into healthier patterns. Are you scared of what might happen if you let go of these old defenses? What WOULD happen? It may mean increasing responsibility, facing conversations or feelings that will be uncomfortable, or confronting the shadows and secrets you have been trying to avoid. Whatever the roadblocks, nothing is worth giving up on your best life for these things getting in your way.
3) Plan A Path of Healing and Accountability
What could help you down the path to being the best YOU possible? There are so many resources available for this. Therapy can be a massive part of this journey for you if that’s something available. Books and other self-help resources are also instrumental in helping people confront their demons and pushing them forward. Take some time to research and figure out the best plan of action for you and the specific set of things you would like to change.
Once you have decided on the path and resources needed, DO IT! There will never be an easy time to make these changes or push yourself. Holding yourself accountable and being honest about these changes are critical to making sure they happen.
4) Give Yourself Grace and Patience
While much of this is about pushing yourself, remember change doesn’t happen overnight, but the first step does. It’s taken years to build up this solid harmful habit, and while it may not take years to tear it down, it will take more than a few days during February. Write down somewhere your plan for improvement and what you will do to make sure you are making these strides forward. Take it all one day at a time, and you will realize that the best gift for someone else is the best gift you could give yourself.
If you need support in this process, reach out to us today! We’d love to schedule a free consultation with one of our providers today to get you started!