Updated: Aug 29, 2019
Valentine's Day is traditionally the day we Americans shower our; soul mate, significant other, children, parents, in-laws, friends, teachers, the mail lady, co-workers... with fancy gifts, special treats, good eats or countless other symbols of love and affection.
However you decide to celebrate the official- Holiday of Hearts- this year is up to you, but don't forget to show yourself the same amount of kindness, compassion, and love you so generously shower upon everyone else on Valentine's Day and every day.
I'm not suggesting you run out and purchase yourself a dozen red, helium-filled balloons (unless doing so happens to bring you joy), but when is the last time you thought about yourself in a positive manner?
Can you think of the last time you said a few kind words about yourself -to yourself? If you're unable to recall such a time, please take a moment and try to do so now.
Having positive thoughts about self or making positive statements to the self is know as, positive internal dialogue or positive self-talk. If either of those terms sound foreign, you can learn some back story here.
Many experts agree that being kind to oneself by using a positive internal dialogue is a vital component in the quest of finding and maintaining internal happiness.
One of the most common issues I see in my private practice when it comes to unhappy individuals is what I like to call, "Empty Gas Tank Syndrome."
Empty Gas Tank Syndrome occurs when a person's mental, emotional, and/or physical gas tank (metaphorically speaking of course) becomes bone dry. This is typically due to repeatedly filling up someone else's gas tank for- months, years, and in some cases, even decades, while simultaneously failing to fill up his/her own tank.
A client struggling with Empty Gas Tank Syndrome frequently expresses personal feelings of sadness, grief, resentment, and irritability. Some also describe feeling unappreciated by his/her loved ones.
Full disclosure for anyone who hasn't read the DSM-5, Empty Gas Tank Syndrome is not a "legitimate" diagnosis. It's just a phrase I sometimes use to help teach happiness seekers how important it is to show themselves love, compassion, and kindness.
Finally, I challenge you to be kind to yourself this Holiday of Hearts- and always. You deserve it. Fill up your own gas tank. Create a more positive internal dialogue for yourself. And.. if you've always secretly wondered what your living room might look like with dozens of helium balloons floating around against the ceiling, by all means- treat yourself!
Misti Luke is a licensed behavioral health therapist. She maintains a part-time private counseling practice in beautiful Broken Bow Oklahoma where she provides individual,couples, and group therapy on a case-by-case basis. For correspondence email firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes and do not constitute medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you or someone you care about is struggling with a behavioral health issue visit your primary care physician or other licensed health care provider in your area.