Valentine’s, Galentine’s, and You

February is the month of love, but it is kind of nice that it has become a month of all kinds of love, not just romantic love.

Romantic love is wonderful, of course. But not everyone has a romantic sweetheart, or maybe they’ve been married to their romantic sweetheart for 30 years and don’t muster up the lovey-dovey the way they used to.

Valentine’s Day has expanded over the years. It has become a time for parents to tell their kids they love them, and for teachers and their students to express care. It has become a time for the public to send notes to retirement communities. Our expressions of love have become more expansive.

Galentine’s Day on February 13 has become an important day for women to celebrate their female friendships, their girlfriends who have stuck by them even when their romantic relationships were on the rocks.

Even if you don’t buy roses and chocolates for others in February, it is a good idea to reflect on those you love and (hopefully) tell them why you love them. It’s also important to reflect on whether you are loving yourself as much as you love others. Empathy is not just something we need to show others. We must show more empathy for ourselves too. Parents of young children have an especially difficult time showing themselves empathy and love because raising children is exhausting; it is hard to carve out even one minute of time to focus on yourself. It’s hard, but necessary. 

So here are some easy ways to show the ones you love how you feel, including yourself:

1–Say “I’m sorry I hurt you.”

2–Grab someone’s hand and squeeze.

3–Smile a genuine smile.

4–Find the humor in situations.

5–Take a deep breath through your nose and exhale through your mouth.

6–Ask, “How are you?” And then stop to listen with your full self.

7–Read a book with your child (maybe Love Is or Heart by Deedee Cummings?)

8–Focus on something outside and see its beauty. (Yes, you can find it even in winter).

9–Stretch your body.

10–Go to bed 30 minutes earlier than you normally would.

Showing love to yourself and others doesn’t have to be a big Instagram-worthy production. It can be small. It can be simple. As long as it’s sincere, that is the most important thing.

About Deedee Cummings

As a therapist, attorney, author, and CEO of Make A Way Media, Deedee Cummings has a passion for making the world a better place. All 16 of Cummings’ diverse picture, poetry, and workbooks for kids reflect her professional knowledge and love of life. Colorful and vibrant, her children’s books are not only fun for kids and adults to read, they also work to teach coping skills, reinforce the universal message of love, encourage mindfulness, and facilitate inclusion for all. Cummings has spent more than two decades working within the family therapy and support field and much of her writing shares her experiences of working with kids in therapeutic foster care. As a result, her catalogs of published books for kids are filled with positive, hopeful messages. Using therapeutic techniques in her stories to teach coping skills, Cummings also strives to lessen the stigma that some people feel when it comes to receiving mental health assistance.
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