I have a secret. I’m one of those annoying people who loves Valentine’s Day. No, no! Don’t click back or “x” out of your screen. This won’t be a sappy post. I’ll admit it – Valentine’s Day is a Hallmark holiday. It’s driven by big corporations and marketing with the goal of selling you something you’ll never live up to. But what if you embraced it? Instead of fighting the day of hearts and chocolates, you choose to love yourself?
My earlier years
Growing up, I don’t know if any little boys liked me. No one asked me to “go with them.” I had a large gap between my front two teeth, was larger than the other girls, and my legs were always covered with mosquito bites. On February 14 my makeshift, glitter heart covered construction paper envelope (please tell me your school did that too!) was filled with platonic Ren and Stimpy and Clarissa Explains it All V-Day cards. But I still loved that silly day. Even though I didn’t quite know how important it was to love yourself.
My parents and grandparents always made the day special with cards and treats. I always felt loved by someone – even if it wasn’t in a romantic capacity.
I admit high school was harder. Especially once my classmates were going on dates for Valentine’s Day. I didn’t date much and never had a boyfriend on the big day. Once again, I’m not sure if anyone really liked me “like that.” But I’ve never been one to settle. Even for a high school boyfriend. I guess deep down I knew how important it was to love yourself and respect your own wants and needs.
During my first few years of college, I finally had a boyfriend on Valentine’s Day. He was kind of going through a rough time so I remember making dinner reservations and buying him a gift. It didn’t matter to me that those were things that were typically done by the guy. I just loved him and wanted to show it. However, that didn’t sit right with him. And he made sure I knew it.
Lesson learned – eventually
I was so wrapped up in loving someone else I forgot to love myself. I’ll save the details for a later post, but that relationship was one that I lost myself in. It was ugly, toxic, and abusive in every way imaginable. I wouldn’t really figure it out for years, but loving someone else, and wanting love from someone else can never be as valuable as when you love – yourself.
I know how hard loving and appreciating yourself can be. It took me until I was in my 30’s to truly know who I really was. To love myself, as I am, at this very moment.
But how do you love yourself?
One of the first steps you can take is to simply look yourself in the eyes in the mirror and say you love yourself. Sounds silly, right? Just try it – stand in front of the mirror and say “I love you”. I’ll tell you that I cried the first time I ever did it. It can be kinda strange at first. But you’ll be astounded at how a simple practice can influence your life.
Taking a journey like that can be difficult at first. And it’s more complex than just saying you love yourself. But when you make it your mission, the results are truly life-changing. Here are a few of my favorite things you can do today to show yourself appreciation:
- Take yourself to a nice dinner.
- Buy yourself clothing that makes you feel good today. Not 10 pounds from now. Not a “motivation” outfit. Celebrate yourself in the body you’re in.
- Write out positive affirmations that confirm you love yourself. Note: you may not currently believe them, but they should be things you want to eventually believe deep down in your heart. Some examples are “I love myself as I am today,” or one of my favorites from Louise Hay, “I am in a joyous, intimate relationship with a person who truly loves me.” Remember that person may just be you.
- Write a list of the qualities that you admire about yourself.
- Buy yourself something that you’ve been putting off. That could be a book you’ve been meaning to read, craft supplies to start a new hobby. Anything that brings you joy.
And no, despite what the world may have you think – when you love yourself you aren’t being narcissistic, shallow or selfish. How can you give yourself to others, when you don’t have enough love to show yourself? How can you truly show someone else appreciation, when you don’t know how to appreciate the most important person in your life – you?
Valentine’s day is just another day
When you see cards, hearts, and candy, or hear about couples getting engaged on “the most romantic day of the year” don’t get upset. And if you do (cause we’re all human, right?) don’t linger on those feelings. Just because someone is outwardly happy so doesn’t mean their life is perfect or all rainbows and butterflies. I know that now more than anyone.
Just be happy that there is love out there in the world. Then continue on your mission to love yourself. When you learn to love yourself, Valentine’s is just another day. Wanna know what my husband and I did today? We moved into our new home. No flowers, no candlelit dinners, no gifts, no chocolates. It’s just another day this year. We love each other today and every day. And more importantly, we each love ourselves enough for that to be enough.
Now let’s chat. Do you despise Valentine’s or think it’s a cute day? Have you ever used positive affirmations? If so, let me know your favorites below!
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