The world is awash with roses and love hearts today on Valentine’s Day. An intimate candlelit champagne dinner for two, a bunch of expensive red roses, a piece of sexy lingerie handed over in a love heart wrapped package and chocolates for a naughty after dinner treat.
But do we need that external affirmation? It is said that you can’t love another person until you love yourself first. That doesn’t mean we become arrogant, conceited or ego-centric – there are plenty of people filling that role today especially in political power.
Self-love means caring for oneself
Erich Fromm a psychologist and social philosopher suggested in the 1950s that self-love means caring for oneself both physically and mentally and taking responsibility for oneself. We exercise more control over our thoughts of worthiness rather than placing it in the hands of a lover, a partner, a manager or a colleague.
But it doesn’t stop there. As Oprah Winfrey said in her final show of The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2011, it is human nature to look for external validation:
“I’ve talked to nearly 30,000 people on this show, and all 30,000 had one thing in common: They all wanted validation. If I could reach through this television and sit on your sofa or sit on a stool in your kitchen right now, I would tell you that every single person you will ever meet shares that common desire. They want to know: ‘Do you see me? Do you hear me? Does what I say mean anything to you?” Oprah Winfrey
We are significant
Of course, our worth is not tied to our relationship status or even our job status. We are significant just for being here. Yet validation – saying ‘I hear you”, “I see you” and “I appreciate you” – builds and supports our relationships both personal and in the work environment.
It is all too easy to get caught up in the anonymity of a disconnected digital stream of conversation of a supposedly connected world. Nothing, however, is as powerful as human face-to-face connection.
So on this Valentine’s Day, take the time to do the following:
- Have face-to-face conversations with people you know and care about, wherever they operate in your life. Practice empathic listening. Listen with respect and interest. You can show this through your body language (eye contact, open gestures, appropriate facial acknowledgement) and by relaying back key points you have heard without any judgement on what has been said.
- Ask daring questions. Take the time to ask their opinions. Listen to their stories. Understand what drives people. When we understand the heart and minds of our colleagues and our business connections, we feel more emotionally engaged.
- Show your appreciation to those who support you in the workplace, in your business dealings through your network, and who help you function in the day to day pressures of life. Pay them compliments for their achievements, which you know will resonate either because these are areas where you have seen them struggle or because they shine through these accomplishments.
What could you do as a business to validate, appreciate and nurture the people around you?
Today is the day to show and tell people around you that not only are they OK, but you know they are there, you see them and that their contribution to your life really means something to you.
The singer Carole King asked “Will you still love me tomorrow”. Let’s practice self-love 365 days of the year and also be open to validating our appreciation of others every day.
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Dinah Tobias is a passionate Speaker, Trainer and Consultant. She designs and facilitates public and bespoke workshops and masterclasses. Her specialist areas are on building networks/influential circles of connections and on business and brand storytelling. She also provides consulting and coaching in these areas to organisations and leaders.