I have been lucky in love, and Valentine’s Day seems an especially good time to celebrate that. Let me tell you a quick story about my husband of thirty years, who knows what love is all about:
I blow-dry my hair upside down in front of a full-length mirror. When I bend over, everything on my face slips south. I look like an ancient female hobbit, or some crone-like wood spirit you’d find perched in a tree, speaking magical wisdom to speed you on your journey. If I purse my lips it accentuates the wrinkles even more. Recently I called my husband in to see.
“You look lovely,” he said.
He’s a really smart guy.
Knowing what someone needs to hear is one kind of love. But there are others: the passionate ache you feel when hugging a child after time apart; the laughter and tears you share with friends; the long-familiar ties of family. And then there’s self-love, which enables them all.
As I gain more crone-like wisdom it becomes ever clearer that being kind to yourself and giving yourself encouragement, treats and challenges makes you happier, and that allows you to love wholeheartedly. Having ardent partners and devoted companions is wonderful, but being your own friend will make you appreciate them, and everything else, even more.
Trying new things regularly, especially scary things that are out of my box, is one of the best ways I have found to help myself thrive and feel good. Here are a few of the most rewarding (and terrifying) things I’ve done lately:
Getting on a real stage to read a true “life story” about burying my mother’s cat. The production involved six other writers, music, prompts, learning about stage production and how to read before an audience (speak slo-o-o-wly and LOUDLY). I even sing a few lines! It was completely nerve-wracking and a total blast.
Upping my game in my writing and editing business. Recently I have taken on new clients and new types of projects (“Why did I say I could do that? I can’t do that!”). I have written a college course, crafted a proposal for a $140 million neurosciences center and provided editing help for a New York Times bestseller.
Learning how to be a better entrepreneur. Two resources have been knock-your-socks-off helpful: Marie Forleo’s amazing B-School and the completely awesome Jenny Shih (read my endorsement of her here). These ladies are true professionals and inspirations, and the information they share and support they offer helps me to behave like a pro as well. I’m still implementing much of what I’ve learned (progress slowed by aforementioned increase in client load, certainly a good problem to have) but the way forward is bright.
Try new things! Try new things!!! It’s difficult but it helps you to see the magical possibilities within yourself, and reminds you of your shining, limitless potential.
My Valentine’s wish for you, along with the romance, roses and chocolate, is that you celebrate all of the exciting endeavors you can choose to embrace. After all, no one is better at knowing what will make you happy than special, wonderful you.