Valentine’s Day is a day of dread for the singles and the not-so sentimental types. Love is literally in the air and there’s rarely a sight that isn’t covered with flowers and chocolates and lovey-dovey couples. It’s a commercialized holiday that brings in money for candy and jewelry companies and a day to give the boyfriends extra brownie points. It’s a day designated to showering your significant other with love.
If you begin thinking about your days in elementary school, you’ll probably remember the tales about the Christian martyrs who inspired the day of love or the Greek God of love who flew around in a diaper and shot arrows that put people under a love spell. We’ve all been acquainted with the stories and no matter how the holiday was intended to be celebrated, we’ve made it centralized towards the couples of the world, leaving others outside the bubble with nothing other than a reminder of what they don’t have.
Despite what this day is cut out to be, if we look at the central idea behind it, it’s a day to celebrate love. And love isn’t just for the boyfriend or the girlfriend, but everyone, including you. It doesn’t have to be a day of wishing you were on the receiving end of a heart-shaped box of chocolates. Redefine the day to be a day of love for yourself.
If you’re looking to redefine Valentine’s, whether you’re in a relationship or not, here are some ways to make it a day to choose and love yourself.
1. Make a decision to practice self-love
If only loving ourselves could be easy. But it’s often you who is your harshest critic. Picking at the things you wish you could change, talking down to yourself and telling yourself you’re not enough or believing the worst about yourself. We as humans have a tendency to nitpick at all the things we believe are imperfect about ourselves while we fawn over what we think makes others so much better. But you don’t need validation from others and you don’t need to be your own worst enemy by criticizing yourself and creating false ideas that you may eventually believe are true. Instead, make the decision to appreciate and love yourself.
2. Make a list of the things you love about yourself
You’ve got the cons down, but try to make a list of the pros. Start the day by making a list of what you love about yourself: how you care for others, how productive you are, or how good your butt looks in those Levi’s 501 jeans!
3. Do something good for your body
As the saying goes, your body is a temple, and you need to take care of it. Listening to your body and knowing what it needs is an important daily practice that contributes to your overall well-being. Take that candle-lit bubble bath, go for a walk, get a workout in or put on a face mask.
4. Make a list of what you seek in a partner
It’s good to know what you seek in a partner—what your standards are and what your red flags are. You can choose to love yourself by knowing your worth and knowing what you deserve so you’re prepared and know what to look for when do you find someone, not accepting anything less.
5. Do something that you love
There’s nothing better than the feeling you get when you’re doing something you love. Whether it be peacefully reading a book, watching a movie or painting, it’s important to cut out time for yourself and allow yourself to enjoy the simple things that make you happy.
6. Take yourself out on a date
Whether in a relationship or not, independence is an important life skill to have. Being confident enough to be alone with yourself without needing someone else is a very empowering and necessary thing. Though community and partnership are also necessary, it’s important that you find out how to spend time with yourself and be ok with it. If you’re up for it, try taking yourself out on a date. Spend quality time with yourself, listen to your thoughts and be comfortable and confident in your own company. Besides, as you get older, the opportunity will likely be far and few in-between so you might as well take advantage of the time now!
7. Make a list of goals for yourself
Whether it be for your career, school or friendships, make a list of goals you have. By identifying what it is that you want, you are setting yourself up for success. Whether you reach these goals or not, you’re bettering yourself by identifying what you’re striving for. Knowing that already bodes better for you and puts you more in tune with yourself.
8. Look in the mirror and identify your favorite features
It’s easy to compare yourself to others, but it’s important to identify the features you love about yourself that make you… you! We’re all different and that’s the way it should be.
9. Treat yourself
Being that it’s the day of love and all, you might as well show yourself some love and treat yourself. Buy yourself those chocolate-covered strawberries if that’s what you’re craving. Get yourself a bouquet of flowers or that dress that you’ve been drooling over. It’s ok to do something special for yourself.
10. Celebrate the “little” accomplishments
Remember that even the things you think are “little” are not. Celebrate every achievement because life is hard and you’re still here. It could be as simple as congratulating yourself for making the bed twice last week or for finishing your paper. Be proud of yourself and what you’ve managed to do.
Tweet us @VALLEYmag to let us know your favorite way to practice self-love, both on Valentine’s Day and every day!