This Valentine’s Day marks 14 years since I moved to the Bay Area. My friend Emma jokingly says it’s my “golden” anniversary because the numbers match. I don’t know if this year will actually be golden, if it will be my best year yet, but I do know every year I wonder if my anniversary will be humdrum, blasé, just a date on the calendar. And every year I find just the opposite: it’s still celebratory and meaningful.
Every year I still swell with pride and choke up in gratitude that 23-year-old me, scared of just about everything, said, “OK, I’ll move,” without having a job, a place to live, or an extensive community. That little community grew and caught me every time I thought I’d fall, which could be a whole other post. It wasn’t an easy experience moving nine times in seven months, nor watching my bank account approach zero dollars and then hit it, but boy am I grateful I moved. I’m so appreciative of that young woman who didn’t give up. For continuing to try even when it would have been easy to throw in the towel. I’m grateful to her for her courage, her openness, and her willingness to go outside her comfort zone. So much happened 14 years ago and the echoes still reach me today.
Why am I writing this publicly? After all, it could have been a journal entry, a private love letter to myself, but I’m making it public because it has me wonder, have you expressed gratitude for your past self lately? Have you said, “Thank you,” to the person in the mirror?
Valentine’s Day is touted as a day to celebrate relationships, typically romantic ones. But the most enduring, constant relationship you’ll ever have is the one with yourself. You are the only person who is with you from birth to death. Have you said, “I’m so proud of you”? Or even given yourself a high five in the mirror?
Mel Robbins (no relation to Tony Robbins), is a motivational speaker and coach. She talks about high fiving yourself in her book The High Five Habit. During a podcast episode with Marie Forleo, she said, “You’re either going to have a really positive reaction where you’re going to laugh and you’re going to smile and it’s going to be funny and corny and all this stuff, or you will burst into tears in a very positive way. This is a very, very common thing that’s happening for people. And the tears are a positive release because you are realizing emotionally how much you’ve longed for this from yourself.”
Sometimes it’s easier to praise other people, to express our gratitude and appreciation for them, but what about you? Aren’t you just as deserving of praise, gratitude, and celebration? This Valentine’s Day, show yourself some love. I bet there’s something, some version of yourself, some moment, some age that you reflect on with appreciation. What do you want to say to that past self? As for me, I’m saying, “Thank you.”
I dream of a world where we appreciate ourselves for how far we’ve come. A world where we say, “Thank you for doing that,” to the person in the mirror. A world where we show some love to ourselves on a day that’s all about love.
Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.