Spring is here! The days are getting longer, the temperatures are getting warmer, and the sun seems to be shining a little brighter. As the snow retreats back into the mountains and trees begin to unfurl their tender new leaves, you may be feeling the urge to shrug off the comforts of winter and welcome some new growth of your own.
Recently, Pope Francis publicly acknowledged that numerous nuns in the Catholic church have been systematically sexually abused, many for years. This abuse has come at the hands of an unknown number of priests and bishops. As a former nun myself for many years, I was horrified by this revelation, and that it has taken so long for the church to acknowledge it.
If prime time TV can be believed, Valentine’s Day is a day dedicated to love; it’s an oasis of flowers, hearts, lace and warm gestures to thaw the chill of a February that seems like it may last forever. Unless you’re alone, that is. Then its purpose is to be mocked and rejected from the comfort of baggy sweatpants and ice cream straight out of the container.
But I would like to offer an alternative: no matter your situation, why not dedicate the holiday to falling in love with yourself? There’s a lot to be said for the happiness that comes with the peace and acceptance of yourself and your surroundings.
Staying inside your comfort zone is, as advertised, comfortable, and doesn’t require a change of mindset. Unfortunately, it’s also a way to stagnate personal growth and prevent you from achieving your best self. Pushing your boundaries and finding new experiences is the best way to shake up your mindset, but it can also be stressful and anxiety-inducing.
Fortunately, if the problem is in your head, the solution likely is too. Motivational psychologist Dr. Heidi Grant says that an individual’s in-going mindset has a huge impact not only on how we anticipate and experience new situations, but also in what we do – and don’t – say and do.