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Tag Archives: self love

10 Things to Do if You Are Alone on Valentine’s Day:

‘You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are, and that person is not to be found anywhere.  You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.’


Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and if you are unmarried, you are part of 50% of the American public that is likely to feel left out at this time of the year.  If you have no significant other, you join millions of Americans whose numbers continue to grow.  Despite this fact, advertisers stage massive campaigns that equate love and affection with lavishing loved ones with material things.  These campaigns increase fear and anxiety about being alone, in addition to perpetuating heterosexism and limited cultural notions about love relationships.

Here are some helpful recommendations from couples and family therapist, Joe Elliott, for building a more conscious relationship to the pressures at this particular time.

  1. Be grateful for how far you have come, reflect on your own path, and look for evidence of how you have stayed true to your values by remaining single.  Journal or sit quietly to reflect on this issue.
  1. Connect with family members; nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers.  Spend time with those who have known you for a long time that can help provide counsel to you.
  1. Connect with friends, plan a get together and give yourself a chance to share about past relationships that you are no longer in that were unhealthy.
  1. Spend time with animals or in nature.  Spending time with a familiar pet can help us to feel needed and spending time in familiar places in nature helps us to feel embraced and less alone.
  1. Engage in meditation or yoga practice.  It will help to deal with the natural, human desire to be with someone and to develop the strength to examine it with skill and care. Contemplative practice can also help you to experience the love of something divine.
  1. Cook yourself a meal. Food is good medicine. Consider making a meal that leads you to feel a sense of comfort and nourishment.
  1. Masturbate – Get in touch with how it feels to be touched, caressed, and sexually excited so that the next time you are with a partner, you can help show them how to turn you on.
  1. Take a break from technology and advertising -give yourself an opportunity to avoid the bombardment by consumer culture that plays on our anxiety and fears about being alone.
  1. Practice self care. Get a massage, a haircut, or spend time at a spa.
  1. Take amusement at the hype. Go to a local drug store or supermarket and take delight in the fact that your affections are not being bargained for with teddy bears, helium balloons, cheap chocolate, and sappy cards- more money for the massage.

There are lots of good reasons for being single, those of which cannot be celebrated in the most conventional means.  Our culture continues to perpetuate the myth that being satisfied with our lives includes having fulfillment in a relationship.

Doing what makes you happy is obviously the best way to offer your unique gifts to the world and to live a genuinely healthy existence, and sometimes this path doesn’t lead towards long-term fulfillment in relationships.  Don’t forget that the most complex and important relationship that we have is with ourselves and that we must remain true to ourselves in order to feel whole and complete about our lives.

How have you celebrated Valentine’s solo-style? 


About Joe Elliott:    Joe received his undergraduate degree from Naropa University in Psychology and Religious Studies and his Masters in Counseling from Regis University in Denver.  He completed a Post-Graduate Certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy from The Denver Family Institute.  Joe has been a student of world religions and has practiced mindfulness for the past fifteen years.  He has also taught a course in Family Therapy to students at  Metro State University and provides consultation on Family Therapy to non-profit organizations.

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What’s More Toxic, Botox or Your Thoughts?

dove real beauty campaign

A couple of weeks ago the Dove “Real Beauty” campaign started circulating their latest advertisement, a video with a Forensic Artist which went incredibly viral, it now has over 37 million views.  By now most of you may have seen it – the Forensic artist draws a woman twice – once when she describes herself, and once when a stranger describes her to the artist.

The study that this video reveals is clear and important: We are terribly critical of ourselves.  Yet even though the message is great, I still struggled with whether to put it up on…and it would have brought us some great traffic in those first weeks.

I was torn about putting it up because I worked for years in advertising, at a big agency that did a lot of Unilever (parent company of Dove) advertising, and I know a bit too much about their company and products (many or most of them full of toxins) to have an open heart on this one.  Also, most of Unilever’s other ads for products like Axe or Slim Fast contradict the message in the Dove video.  So yes, The message is great, yes, and it would be even better without a logo on the end of it.

But when I saw the below post from Wendi Knox about the video and the issue at the heart of the video, I had to share.  Wendi hits the proverbial nail on the head (or needle to the worry lines) on being our own worst critics, and shares a couple of great tips how to become our own admirer.

What’s More Toxic, Botox or Your Thoughts?

I‘m not about to judge how anyone faces the challenges of aging.

Having just celebrated another birthday, it’s definitely a topic that’s on my mind.

And on my forehead.

And under my eyes.

And around my neck.

As far as Botox goes, I’ve personally never been a fan of injecting toxins into my face.

But ironically I do inject all kinds of toxic thoughts every time I look in the mirror.

Seriously, I‘m the meanest of the mean girls to my own sweet face. (You should hear the way I snidely snipe every wrinkle, crinkle, bag and sag.)

But then, aren’t we all our own harshest critics?

And sadly, it’s not just women of a “certain age” either.

In this powerful video from Dove Real Beauty, seven women of various ages and backgrounds (none of them over forty), each are asked to describe their face “objectively” to a forensic sketch artist:

When a stranger was asked to describe the woman’s face, the difference in portraits and perception is staggering.

In every case, the woman saw the worst in herself. The stranger saw the best.

Of course, we do this to ourselves on a daily basis.

Have you ever looked at a photo of yourself when you were younger and thought “Wow, I looked pretty good.”

And then you sadly remember how  ”fat” and “ugly” you used to think you were.

Don’t you just want to shake the Younger You and tell her to be grateful for all that she has?

Well, one of the beautiful parts about aging is we get a chance to learn from the past.

Hopefully, with more awareness, we’ll start seeing ourselves through more loving eyes.

Here are some non-surgical techniques that I’ve been trying:

1.  Fast-forward 10 or 20 years.

Imagine yourself in the future, looking at yourself now.  Chances are, the Older You would die for the imperfections that the Current You is obsessing about now.

Why wait?  Find something you love about your face right now. In this very moment.

No comparisons to how you used to look. Or how you’d look “if only.” Or how much better what’s-her-name looks.

2.  See the best. Forget the rest.

Whatever we focus on gets bigger.  So, we can choose to zero in on our frown lines. Or to smile them away.

We can fixate on the bags under our eyes. Or see the light within them.

(And of course, a really good concealer doesn’t hurt, either.)

3.  If you can’t say something nice…

Start noticing all the mean things you say right in front of your face.

How many times a day do you tell yourself how tired, old, wrinkled or ugly you look?

What if you stopped, looked yourself right in the eyes and said “I love you.”

In the beginning, this feels rather strange. (Especially if someone catches you doing it.)

But on days when I remember to be as loving to my own face as I am to others, it seems like the whole world is a more loving place.

(I call that the Law of Reflection.)

4.  Let’s fill our souls.

We live in a culture that’s more concerned with sagging skin than sagging spirits.

Again, I’m not passing judgment on Restylane, Juviderm or any facial filler. But let’s face it, what good is being perfectly plumped on the outside, if you feel empty inside?

Most of us are so busy doing, fixing and accomplishing in the outside world, we forget to honor our inner world.

So, try this: The next time you tell yourself “I should blah-blah-blah-ing.,” hit the pause button.

Place your hand on your heart and ask  “What do I feel like doing?”

There is no age-defying product on any shelf as powerful as following the joyful calling of your heart.

5.  Become a a dragonfly

Dragonflies spend most of their lives crawling around the bottom of a pond.

They don’t even grow their iridescent wings until much later in life.

What a beautiful reminder that it’s never too late for us to soar.

Stuck in the muck of our busy, no-time-to-breathe lives, we rarely allow ourselves to ponder new possibilities.

6.  Give Your Heart a Set of Wings.

Have you always wanted to take tango lessons, go sky-diving, bake bread, throw pottery, go back to school or ________________?  Give yourself a reason to expand!

The recognition of beauty is an art.  It’s less about what you can add to the painting and more about what you can see in what’s already there.

 The beauty of a woman is not in her face, but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives the passion that she shows. The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years. – Audrey Hepburn

Do you have a favorite beauty quote? Please share! 

If you enjoyed this read, you will also like: “What an 85-Year-Old Model & Yogini Can Teach Us about Going Grey Gracefully“.

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