It’s that time of the year again: Valentine’s Day. On this special occasion, we show our love and gratitude to the special people in our lives. We purchase flowers, chocolates, greeting cards, and anything else that says “I love you” and “I care about you”. Yet, while you celebrate love and all its forms, don’t forget about a very special someone: YOU. Learning to love yourself can boost your happiness, well-being, and relationships with others. In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of loving yourself and how to love yourself on Valentine’s Day.
The importance of loving yourself
What is self-love anyway? Self-love is having a deep appreciation for who and what you are. When you love yourself, you treat yourself with understanding and forgiveness. You know that it’s OK to make mistakes, so you try to grow physically and emotionally from your experiences. What’s more, you give your mind and body unconditional respect. That is, meeting your personal needs, and considering yourself worthy of happiness. It’s about being confident; knowing that, no matter what life throws at you, you will remain true and kind to yourself.
What is self-love not about? To clarify, it’s not about unhealthy habits. Sometimes, we “comfort” ourselves by indulging in junk food, drinking, or procrastinating. But these actions harm our physical and mental health. Self-love is not believing yourself superior or more deserving than others either. Likewise, it isn’t pushing your limits to achieve perfection. If you’ve ever associated self-love with unhealthiness, egotism, or perfectionism, it’s time to shift your perspective. Focus on the kind of self-love that entails accepting your flaws, accepting others, and perceiving yourself as someone worthy of happiness and success.
And why is all of this relevant?
What is the importance of loving yourself? You’ve probably heard something among the lines of “if you can’t love yourself, how can you love others?” In other words, when you love yourself, you develop more empathy and compassion for others. Research also shows that loving yourself helps you build inner resilience. Consequently, it’s easier to cope with challenging situations such as rapid change, trauma, or heartbreak. Studies also show that the acceptance that comes from self-love leads to healthier decisions.
How to love yourself on Valentine’s Day: 11 helpful tips
Many of us struggle with self-love. Why is it so difficult? There are too many reasons. Some people may have experienced trauma or toxic relationships, which disrupt their confidence and self-esteem. But, typically, we hold ourselves to impossibly high standards. This may include our appearance or careers. In the Western world, perfectionism is a positive trait to have. As a result, we strive to excel in everything we do at all times. Naturally, this is exhausting. It also gives a voice to our inner critic, who is often cruel and demanding.
Yet, the good news is that practicing self-love can turn this narrative around. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, is the perfect time to give yourself some much-need love. Show your appreciation for yourself and all the wonderful things you have achieved in life. Now, if you are wondering how to love yourself on Valentine’s Day, check out the following tips.
1. Do something you love
What makes you feel most alive? Perhaps you love painting, reading, dancing, or listening to music. Or, it could be that you enjoy taking care of your garden or volunteering for your community. Whatever it is, do it! Whether you are single or in a relationship, spend a portion of Valentine’s Day doing what makes you happy. Engaging in your passions improves your mood. It also gives you a sense of purpose, which is essential for a healthy and happy life.
2. Use the magic word: “NO”
There’s something so empowering about saying “no”. It isn’t selfishness. It isn’t laziness. It’s an act of self-love that allows you to establish healthy boundaries. Setting limits in your personal and professional life prevents stress and anxiety. As much as you’d like to please others, you can’t do everything; you are only human after all.
The best way to practice this habit is by taking time to meditate on your response. Before committing, pause, check in, and reflect on the implications of the requests. Ask yourself, do I feel comfortable doing this? Does this align with my values? Do I have the time to do this? Negotiation expert William Ury recommends having an “anchor phrase” to help you say no with more confidence. For example, you can try: “I need to give the request some thoughts. I’ll get back to you soon”. Or, “I rather say no to you now than disappoint you later”.
3. Surround yourself with nature
If you are wondering how to love yourself on Valentine’s Day, why don’t give yourself a forest bath? “Nature bathing” or “forest bathing” emerged in Japan in the 1980s. This physiological and psychological exercise known as shinrin-yoku offered the perfect, natural antidote to burnout. In addition, research shows that walking in natural environments can lower stress, anxiety, depression, and anger, and boost overall well-being.
4. Forgive yourself
Everyone makes mistakes. Yet, some mistakes weigh heavily on our shoulders. You may find yourself agonizing about a bad decision you took 5 or even 10 years ago. You may wonder how different your life would be if it weren’t for that silly mistake. Is that to let it go. Beating yourself for what happened in the past will not change the present; it’s counterproductive.
As cliché as it may sound, try to see your mistakes as valuable lessons. Failures are opportunities for learning in your personal and professional life. Letting go of grudges can help you focus on your victories and all the opportunities of the present moment.
When thinking about how to love yourself on Valentine’s Day, remember your physical health. Exercise prevents serious health conditions such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, anxiety, and depression. Working out also delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. In turn, this gives you more energy to tackle your daily tasks. Moreover, regular exercise stimulates brain chemicals that help you feel more relaxed, happier, and less anxious. So, by working out at least 30 minutes on Valentine’s day (and every day) you are telling your mind and body “I love you” and “I’m taking care of you”.
However, if you have any disability or medical condition which makes exercise difficult, ask your doctor for alternatives.
6. Write down your successes
Sometimes, you just need a reminder of how wonderful you are. After all, you feel admiration for people who have done impressive things (celebrities, successful business people, etc). The same applies to you. Dig into your past and identify your victories, no matter how small. Write everything down in a journal or collect them on a visual board.
7. Do something nice for someone else
Being kind boosts serotonin and dopamine levels. These two neurotransmitters promote feelings of satisfaction and well-being. Kindness increases your sense of connectivity with the world. This relieves loneliness and enhances relationships. Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion for doing small, but significant acts of kindness. There are many ways to do this from the traditional flowers and dinner to more personalized ideas. Most importantly, while you are being kind to others, don’t forget to be kind to yourself!
8. Try affirmations
Positive affirmations are excellent for giving yourself some love and silencing your inner critic. Choose words that empower you and remind you how deserving of happiness you are. Try: I am loved and worthy, I love and approve of myself, or When I make a mistake, forgive myself.
9. Pamper yourself
You are worthy of love and happiness. While is amazing to have someone to spoil you and shower you with attention, you don’t need to wait for it to happen. Do it yourself! For instance, you can treat yourself to a day at the spa, a cup of your favorite tea, or anything else that nourishes you and brings you joy.
10. De-tox from social media
Facebook posts and Instagram stories on Valentine’s Day can make you feel like there’s something amiss. In general, social media makes us compare ourselves to what we see there. This isn’t good for self-esteem and mental health. During this special day, keep away from social media. Additionally, if you tend to spend too much time on social media, consider limiting your daily usage. Instead, focus on off-line activities such as reading, exercising, painting, or doing any other hobby you enjoy.
11. Reach out to positive people
If you struggle with self-love, try to see yourself from the eyes of your loved ones. This can be your partner, relatives, or friends. They know your strengths and positive qualities. Lean on those views to boost your self-love. If possible, stay away from negative people. You know who they are: anyone who constantly drags you down and emphasizes your flaws without providing constructive criticism. This hurts your self-esteem and overall mental health.
Try this meditation for self-love and forgiveness
Now that you’ve learned a couple of tricks for loving yourself on Valentine’s Day, let’s discuss another excellent strategy. Meditation encourages a heightened state of awareness and focused attention. In short, it’s a consciousness-altering practice that provides a much-needed space for serenity and self-reflection. While not a cure-all, meditation can help you make better choices for yourself and those around you. Moreover, science shows that those who meditate regularly experience a wealth of positive benefits. Therefore, through meditation, you may learn to lower your stress levels, improve your focus, tame mind-chatter, and boost empathy for others and yourself.
The following short meditation will help you forgive your past self and embrace the present you with love and compassion. You will use positive affirmations to shift your perspective and influence your actions. You will use the power of words to break free from any negative self-talk and limiting beliefs. After all, the more you repeat a positive affirmation, the more you dissolve layers of mind chatter and the more you build an intention. The repetition of an intention is a wonderful way of turning the desire for change into a habitual pattern of love.
Try the following:
- Firstly, find a comfortable position, preferably sitting down and with your back straight.
- Secondly, close your eyes and relax.
- Become aware of your breathing.
- Inhale deeply and slowly. Exhale in a similar way — deeply and slowly. Continue doing this five or ten times more, until it feels a bit more natural.
- As you continue breathing in and out, bring your awareness to your heart.
- Mentally say to yourself: “I let go of thoughts that do not serve me for love and emotional freedom”. Repeat this three, four, or even five times — as many times as you need. Soak yourself in the power of these words.
- Then, say to yourself: “I let go of limiting beliefs about myself”. Repeat several times.
- After that, say: “I am love, compassion, and empathy”. Repeat several times.
- Finally, it’s time to check out. Bring your awareness back to your breathing.
- Slowly open your eyes. You have completed your meditation for self-love and forgiveness. Well done!
- You can try different affirmations. Just make sure they are in line with your needs.
- If your mind wanders, bring your awareness back to your breathing.
- Above all, be kind to yourself. This is incredibly important! Meditation doesn’t come easily for everyone, and that is perfectly okay. With time and practice, you’ll be able to easily engage in this meditation. It’s only a matter of trying.
A simple way to fall in love with yourself on Valentine’s day (and every day)
Treat yourself to a relaxing and revitalizing experience with Synctuition. The Synctuition app features over a hundred different soundscapes powered by natural sounds, binaural beats, and soothing music. As you listen, your mind will immerse itself in these beautiful sounds, distancing itself from any negative or stressful thoughts. As a result, you’ll have the unique opportunity of connecting lovingly with your inner realm.