Using love as a secret weapon to help you feel and perform better!

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Modeling self-love and self-compassion on Valentine’s Day and beyond


Happy Valentine’s Day! 

On Valentine’s Day, we usually talk about showering love on others. Chocolates, roses, greeting cards, dinners out. It’s usually all about someone else.

But what if we took a moment today to turn some of that Valentine’s love inward toward ourselves?

I know the term “self-love” might sound a little cheesy to you, but we use terms like “self-confidence” all the time. If we can have confidence in ourselves, why can’t we show a little love to ourselves?

And the science backs up why some self-love doesn’t just make us feel good, it also makes us show up more intentionally and positively in our relationships, professional and personal.

In our fast-paced and demanding legal profession, where the pressure to achieve and excel can be relentless, it's crucial not to overlook the importance of self-love and self-compassion. These qualities aren't just personal luxuries; they're actually integral components of emotional intelligence that can significantly impact the well-being and performance of legal professionals, both individually and as part of a team.

At the core of emotional intelligence lies the ability to recognize, understand, and manage our own emotions effectively. Self-love and self-compassion are foundational to this process. When lawyers and legal professionals cultivate a compassionate attitude towards themselves, they become more attuned to their emotional states. Rather than harshly judging themselves for perceived failures or setbacks, they learn to acknowledge their feelings with kindness and understanding. As Brene Brown would say, “Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.”

Kristin Neff's groundbreaking research on self-compassion underscores its role in fostering emotional resilience, reducing stress, and enhancing overall well-being. By embracing imperfections and treating themselves with gentleness, Lawyers and legal professionals can create a supportive inner environment conducive to emotional growth and maturity.

Self-love and self-compassion are also intertwined with empathy, another critical aspect of emotional intelligence. When legal professionals extend compassion to themselves, they naturally become more empathetic towards their clients, colleagues, and adversaries. By recognizing their own vulnerabilities, they develop a greater capacity to understand and resonate with the experiences of others.

Research consistently demonstrates that when professionals, including legal professionals, practice self-love and self-compassion, they are better equipped to navigate the challenges of their profession and collaborate effectively in team settings. They are more understanding, supportive, and resilient, fostering stronger bonds and trust within teams and with clients. 

For leaders in the legal profession, demonstrating self-compassion is particularly vital. It fosters authenticity and trust, creating a positive organizational culture where legal professionals feel valued and supported. Leaders who embrace self-love are better equipped to handle the pressures of the legal profession with resilience, inspiring their teams to do the same. (For more, check out this article: Self-Compassion Will Make You a Better Leader (

If you’re a leader (and you are - from wherever you are in your organization, you impact those around you in large and small ways), here are some practical ways to take care of yourself and build a culture where others can cultivate self-love, enhance their emotional intelligence, and thrive in their work and life: 

Lead by example: As leaders and colleagues in the legal profession, demonstrate self-compassion in your interactions with colleagues, clients, and adversaries. Acknowledge your own vulnerabilities and treat yourself with kindness and understanding, setting a positive example for your team and those around you.

Promote a culture of well-being: Advocate for resources and support for mental health and well-being within your legal organization. Encourage activities such as mindfulness meditation, stress reduction workshops, or well-being programs to promote emotional resilience and self-care among legal professionals. Share how the research shows that these well-being initiatives benefit the individual team members and the organization as a whole. (Need more research on that? Let me know - I’m happy to share it with you!)

Foster collaboration and empathy: Create opportunities for legal professionals to collaborate and share experiences with colleagues. Encourage open dialogue and active listening, fostering empathy and understanding among team members. Practice these skills yourself!

Celebrate successes and failures: Cultivate a growth mindset by celebrating both successes and failures as opportunities for learning and growth. Encourage legal professionals to reflect on their experiences, extract valuable lessons, and apply them to future challenges.

Prioritize self-care: Encourage those around you, both lawyers and legal professionals, to prioritize self-care and healthy work-life integration. Provide support for activities such as exercise, hobbies, or spending time with loved ones, promoting overall well-being and resilience in the face of professional demands. And don’t forget to do this for yourself, too! 

By integrating these practical tips into their legal practice and leadership approach, lawyers and legal professionals can enhance their emotional intelligence, foster stronger connections with colleagues and clients, and ultimately elevate team performance and well-being in the legal profession - all through a focus on loving themselves, taking care of themselves, and sharing that with others around them.

So, let's embrace the power of self-love and compassion, remembering their essential role in creating a thriving and resilient legal community! 

We don’t talk about “love” much in the legal profession. What if this Valentine’s Day was the day to start building a “Culture of Caring” - caring about ourselves AND about those around us?