You might recall Valentine’s Day in elementary school involving mandatory cards and candy for every single classmate, which was great for making everyone feel included. Unfortunately, as we grow older, February 14th becomes a holiday associated with more complex emotions. Whether you view Valentine’s Day with dread, ambivalence, or unironic excitement – attitude really is everything! Regardless of what your Valentine’s plans are, why not celebrate with a healthy dose of self love? Here’s a few ways to make this date truly your own:
1. Think really deeply about what you want – in your next relationship, from your next career move, within your living situation, etc. There is always a first step that can be made towards improving your everyday existence, and visualization can be the best place to start manifesting your desires!
2. Eat a d*mn good meal. If you enjoy cooking, take the time out of your day to prepare your favorite comfort food. If you don’t, order in and eat in bed. They say the way to one’s heart is through the stomach, and that applies to you as well!
3. Give yourself a break! If you have a tendency to throw yourself into productive tasks to avoid the distractions of your emotional world, let yourself bask in the relative peace of your existence today. No one will prioritize your peace of mind better than you.
4. Treat yourself how you wish a significant other would treat you. Why wait to be pampered? Especially if you’re the type to never make the time or effort, do something today that is strictly for your own wellbeing and self esteem. You DESERVE.
5. Practice mindfulness. Meditation can benefit literally anyone, and can be as simple as observing your surroundings and controlling your breathing for 5 minutes a day. If you’re new to meditation or find it hard to sit still for extended periods, apps like Headspace and Insight Timer are a great place to start with guided meditation!
6. Practice forgiveness. While it may seem unfair to have to be the bigger person, holding on to old pain only hurts you more in the long run. It’s amazing how great you can feel once you stop letting your thoughts be dominated by people who may not even deserve to still be in your life. Regardless of whether you have received closure, try your best to forgive old traumas for *your* sake.
7. Journal. It doesn’t matter if you’re spending the holiday with a partner, friends, your pet, or by your lonesome – Valentine’s Day is a loaded day that tends to bring in a tidal wave of emotions. Use the opportunity to take stock of where you’re at in life and document your emotional state. Besides, it can be very entertaining to look back on old journal entries and remember exactly what mental space you were in at some point in the past! Honor your feelings now and commit them to paper.
8. Ask someone who loves you to explain what makes you great. We are often guilty of being much too hard on ourselves, and negative self-talk is tragically common in our increasingly chaotic world. Would you talk to your best friend the ways your negative inner critic talks you down? Remember that you are both marble and sculptor in your life, so treat yourself like the work of art that you are!
9. Stop fretting and get started on the chores, projects, and dreams you’ve been putting off. When you simply do, you no longer have patience for the anxieties that plague your daily thoughts. Questions like “am I good enough?” or “do I look stupid?” will never serve you any better than simply finding out. When you carry the consequences of your choices instead of the anxiety of inaction, you let yourself enjoy life to the fullest.
10. Make self-compassion a regular habit. Just as any relationship requires constant effort, so does the one you have with yourself and your body. Self love (or any kind of love) doesn’t stop and start with Valentine’s Day. Perform gestures of affection for yourself on a daily basis, not merely on the dates where it’s to be expected.
Self love may seem like just another trendy hashtag, but it is also a fundamental concept that everyone should put in work towards. Love is not a goal-oriented process, but rather an end in itself. When you love and treat yourself the best you possibly can, you train others how to treat you and stop accepting anything less than you deserve. Here’s to another year of radical self-love!
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