Remember those days when, as a child, you gave little heart-shaped Valentines and then waited and hoped you’d get some yourself?
Well, no more waiting and hoping. Why not send and receive a Valentine from the person who knows you best: you! Instead of waiting for wine and roses, how about giving yourself one day that’s about pleasuring and appreciating you?
Of course, exchanging Valentines with others or sharing special Valentine Day events brings its own joy. But, if you’re feeling a void inside your heart, no sentimental slogan on a card is going to fill it. If your body and soul are craving a little pampering, you’re the one who can make that happen.
Adding a little bit of pleasure to your life can make any day better. On Valentine’s day, make it your assignment. You deserve a day to discover what brings you delight. Just remember: pleasure looks different for everyone. It doesn’t have to be big, exotic or sultry unless that’s what you are wanting.
Prepare your Valentine’s day celebration in advance – a luxurious planning ritual can be pleasurable in and of itself. Give yourself a block of time before the big day to make a list of what would be pleasurable for you.
Put on some favorite music, settle into a comfy chair with a cup of tea or glass of wine, and take a deep breath.
Give yourself permission to imagine and fantasize about the kinds of things that give you pleasure, big and small, ordinary and outlandish, then write a list of at least 20 items that would be pleasurable to you.
This will provide you with ideas of what to give to yourself on Valentine’s Day. If you can’t do everything, no problem – you can save some ideas for later.
The list is just for you, so it can be as wild, crazy, simple or long as you like. On my list I have some exotic, dream-big activities, like a week in Paris and a day at a chichi spa that I can’t really afford.
I also have lots of everyday activities that bring me joy, like buying 10 colorful primroses to plant in my garden during the gray of February.
Anything can become a gift to yourself when you do it intentionally, such as giving yourself permission to spend 45 minutes reading your favorite novel in the middle of your day.
The German writer Hermann Hesse, author of Siddhartha, wrote over a century ago: “Do not overlook the little joys… so inconspicuous and scattered so liberally throughout our daily lives… They are not outstanding, they are not advertised, they cost no money!”
Those little joys are pleasures for the taking. On my list of small pleasures are listening to the cat purr in my arms, sharing a big bowl of popcorn on Friday night with my spouse, and buying my first of the year bunch of daffodils.
Other tiny pleasures I enjoy are a single flower in a vase, a whiff of perfume in the air and pens. I have a thing about great pens that feel good in my hand and write smoothly.
For less than $25 I can feel like a queen by indulging in a big box of my favorite pens at the office supply store and then throwing out every cheapo pen from a trade-show or unknown hotel that has snuck into the house.
Many pleasures can involve others such as a leisurely cup of coffee with your BFF or a long walk with your spouse or partner.
As you look at your list of pleasures, you may see new ways to sneak a little more pleasure into your regular days.
A lot of us, myself included, soldier on during the day, hoping that, if we only grunt and work hard enough, by the end of the afternoon or evening there’ll be a nice reward, or we’ll be able to finally let down.
Too often, the end of the day comes with one more task to do and our big reward is collapsing into bed to sleep.
Valentine’s Day could open the door to a whole new way for you to live, in which pleasure becomes a routine part of your morning, afternoon and evening.
Seeking pleasure doesn’t mean that you’ll end up self-absorbed and hedonistic. One of the most pleasurable things I can do is to appreciate someone, whether I know them personally or not.
Appreciation only takes a moment, it can make someone’s day, and I receive the pleasure of seeing a face glow. Another source of no-cost, rewarding pleasure is composing and sending an “I care about you” email to a friend or colleague.
And what if you can’t quite afford that trip to Paris or the day at the spa? Be a little creative! I bet you can bring more Paris into your life with a bottle of wine and a good French flic.
Or have a bit of spa experience by taking a bath with one of those hand-crafted, but not terribly expensive, soaps. And, for a real spa-like treat, take your bath mid-day.
The very best pleasure on Valentine’s Day might be giving yourself more love.
Maybe staring at the mirror and saying, “I love you” doesn’t do it for you. Let’s start with something easier, a warm up: express your love for a friend. Love begets love, giving what you’d like to receive is a great idea, and it can put you in the “I love you” mood.
The next step is to think about what you like, or even love, about yourself. Be specific. Look for some quirky details that make you uniquely you. What can you appreciate about the kind, loving, creative, care-for-other-people person that you are?
To do the above, you’ll need to suspend your outrageously high expectations of yourself, put your self-critic on pause, and give yourself a few hours to luxuriate in just being yourself. That’s a gift in itself.
If you’re ready to go further, here’s an exercise that I love. Sit in a chair or a cushion on the floor, and put on music that fills and inspires you. Relax into the music. Let it carry you somewhere. Breathe. Feel the weight of gravity allowing your body to sink. Let your mind start to drift.
After a couple of minutes, imagine giant arms around you, cradling you, telling you how valuable and wonderful you are. Feel the warmth, the safety, the comfort. Imagine those arms are from the universe extending its love and appreciation for you and everything you are.
You don’t have to do anything to merit this love: it’s your birthright. Your job right now is to soak it up. Feel the love in your heart and let it gently expand around you. Feel your connection to the energy of the great force running through you, whether you call it Spirit, God, Chi or the call of the wild.
Know that you are wanted. Know that you are loved.
That could be the most pleasurable Valentine’s Day gift of all.
Are you alone on Valentine’s Day? What fun ideas are you going to give yourself for Valentine’s Day? Do share below so we can all learn together.
Tags Finding Happiness