How to Be Your Own Valentine This Year (and Every Year)
I was in the middle of a yoga class when the instructor told us to think of the people we love most in our lives. After a few moments of thinking about my husband, my parents, my close friends, and my dog, the instructor spoke up again and said, “Where did you show up on that list? Did you even make the list at all?”
I gritted my teeth and sighed. I thought we were supposed to be thinking of other people, not ourselves! It’s easy to have gratitude for the people we love; it’s much harder to have gratitude and love for ourselves. I begrudgingly saw her point, though — I often put myself at the end of the list. Self-love can be challenging, and I can always use the reminder to put myself first.
Valentine’s Day shines a light on the relationships in our lives — or the lack of certain relationships — and that can stir up an array of emotions. Whether you are coupled up or celebrating with friends, there is one relationship that everyone has, and many argue is the most important: the relationship with yourself.
A few years ago, I started a tradition of being my own valentine. Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love, and why not show yourself some love in the same way you would a partner or friend? Setting aside a day, or even a few moments, to show yourself some extra love and compassion is a great way to put yourself first and practice self-love. Here are a few ideas to get you started on how to be your own valentine.
Take yourself on a date.
Imagine you are your own best friend or partner, and plan an evening or afternoon for yourself. Are you a dinner and a movie type? Or maybe you prefer being a tourist in your hometown? Take some time to think about your ideal date, and then make those reservations and set aside time for yourself. You also don’t have to leave home for date night — you could make your favorite meal and set the table with candles and fancy plates, then cue up Netflix and settle in with popcorn.
Wear an outfit you feel great in.
Taking the time to style an outfit, from the shoes to the accessories, always makes me feel like I’m taking care of myself and is a great confidence booster. Pull out a favorite dress or shirt you rarely wear, or those boots you love, and dress up for the day. Or maybe you always dress up for work, and your coziest loungewear would make you feel loved and pampered. Whatever calls to you, dress in a way that makes you feel like a million bucks.
Buy yourself flowers.
If walking by the dozens of red roses at the grocery store makes you smile, why not pick up a bouquet for yourself? There isn’t a rule that says you have to buy them for someone else. Plus, flowers in my home always makes me feel like it’s an occasion. And if you have the option to include a small note with your bouquet, do it! It might feel silly, but including a few words of love and encouragement is all part of the fun of being your own valentine. What would you love to read when your flowers arrive? Put that in the note and enjoy!
Treat yourself to that item you’ve been wanting.
I keep a running list of things I’d like to buy for myself, and in an effort to not emotionally spend, I let my wish list grow and check back in with it after a few weeks. Sometimes I grow out of things on the list or I simply don’t feel the need for them anymore, but the things that are long-lasting are the items I eventually treat myself to. Depending on your budget, this gift can be as extravagant or simple as you like, from buying yourself your favorite candy bar to splurging on the higher-priced item you’ve been eyeing.
Write yourself a love letter.
Writing yourself a love letter is an incredibly powerful practice, and being able to speak to yourself kindly and compassionately is a great skill to hone. Instead of waiting to read the words you wish other people would write about you, write them down yourself. Grab a pen and a piece of paper or journal and start by writing “Dear Me,” and continue to write as if you were speaking to a friend. Tell yourself what you need to hear, and read the letter out loud to yourself once you’ve finished. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but be gentle and remind yourself that self-love is a practice. After you’ve finished writing, save the letter and read it anytime you need a boost.