Holidays like Valentine’s Day can be fun and cute, but sometimes when you are being bombarded with messages about how super fantastic it is to be in a relationship, and where your worth suddenly appears to be tied to who sends you flowers or takes you out to dinner, it can be easy to start to feel like “less than” because you don’t have a partner; or because your partner doesn’t make as big of a deal out of Valentine’s Day as someone else’s partner. And this type of comparative thinking can lead to feelings of insecurity about everything from your love life to the way you dress, or the way your body looks. But the best kind of love around is self-love, right? So how can you love yourself this Valentine’s Day?
What I would encourage you to do in those moments of self-doubt is to spend some time reflecting on the worthwhile contributions that you make in this life, to your family/community and to the world at large. You bring something very valuable and unique that is deserving of love—don’t let this day on the calendar make you forget that.
So how do you nourish your spirit and start to get back those self-loving feelings?
Stand in the mirror. Look at yourself. Note all the great things that you love, and compliment yourself on them. “I really love my hair” “I have beautiful eyes” “My arms are so toned” (Focus only on what you like about yourself—don’t get caught up in what you wish you could change). Ultimately, the more you love exactly who you are, the easier it is for someone else to do the same.
Learn to accept compliments from others
Have you ever noticed that it is particularly difficult to accept a compliment from someone else when you're feeling insecure? When someone compliments your hair or skin, instead of launching into a diatribe about how difficult it was to get your hair to straighten or how your skin is really very dry today, try saying "thank you" with a smile. Let the beautiful things that others say about you sink in until they become your self-talk.
Tell yourself “I Love You”
We say it to our children, friends, parents and significant others—but how often do we say it to ourselves? Tell yourself “I Love You” and affirm that you too are worth the same love that you shower onto others.
Engage in something that you naturally do really really well
The idea here is not to challenge yourself, but to do something at which you excel without even trying—something in which you are already confident that you’re a rock star. Do you have a beautiful voice? Sing to yourself. Are you a fast runner? Hit the pavement. Can you sketch beautifully? Break out that pencil. Allow yourself to get so lost in that activity that you forget to wallow.
Spend time with children
It doesn’t matter if they’re your own children, nieces and nephews or a group of children you volunteer with; just hang out with them. You will never look cooler, smarter or more talented than through the eyes of a young child. They’re so curious, and find it fascinating that you have so many answers. See yourself through their eyes for awhile and be reminded about how much you’ve accomplished since you were that age.
Romantic love is beautiful, but it is really just one part of a much greater energy. If you start to feel down, focus on the love you have from your friends, your parents, your children, your church and your extended family. I was touched by comments on a recent post from women whose Valentines this year are their dads or other family members. No matter whether or not I’ve been in a relationship on Valentine’s Days past, I have always been filled to the brim on that day because I have unconditional love from my young man, my girls and my parents. It is still a thrill to open V-Day cards from my mom and dad every year!
It’s okay if you’re not in a relationship or dating on Valentine’s Day. It’s okay if you are in a relationship and choose not to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Ultimately, we should be using our actions to show the people in our lives that we care about them on every single day of the year.
What are some of the things you do to practice loving yourself?
*A version of this post was originally posted at Peace Love & Pretty Things with the title ‘Five Ways to Affirm Your Worth’. Click here to read the original in its entirety.
*** This post has been submitted to IFB as part of the IFB Project: The Season of Love