Single or committed, you can have a meaningful and uplifting Valentine’s day by giving some love to number one. Practicing self-love is one of the best things you can do to feel strong, confident, and happy.
Don’t let all the focus on romance overshadow what you can do to lift yourself up. Feeling good about yourself will give you a glow that no heart-shaped candies can match.
And don’t worry, self-love isn’t selfish!
Take some time on Valentine’s day to brush up on your self-love practice — you deserve it!
What Is Self-Love?
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, self-love is “regard for one’s own well-being and happiness (chiefly considered as a desirable rather than narcissistic characteristic).”
That doesn’t sound so bad, right?
Whether you’re in a relationship or not, learning self-love will benefit you. In fact, you won’t be able to achieve the deepest connection with another person until you’ve got a healthy relationship with yourself.
Valentine’s day is a perfect reminder to love yourself, but you can and should give some attention to self-love all throughout the year.
How to Show Yourself Love
Self-love takes practice. It’s not as simple as waking up one day and deciding you’re going to be kinder to yourself (though that certainly won’t hurt). Like any habit, it will involve repeated action to get into a pattern.
The goal should be not just to like yourself, but to love yourself unconditionally. Let’s review some ways you can show yourself love and get on a path to being your own biggest supporter.
1. Forgive Yourself
We all make mistakes, so give yourself some slack. Recognize that no one is perfect and let some things go.
Perhaps you’ve made some bad choices—who hasn’t? Have some compassion for yourself.
If there’s something that’s been weighing on you, give yourself permission to move forward. We have all made mistakes we must overcome.
Don’t worry, forgiving yourself is not a pass to brazenly make poor choices in the future. You can strive to learn and improve without continuously beating yourself up over your failures.
Living your life in “what if” and “if only” mode, rehashing what you’ve done in the past, is not productive for a solid future. You’ll only weaken yourself.
Start by writing down three mistakes or regrets you’re going to let go of.
It can be a lot easier to forgive others at times than it is to forgive ourselves, so this one definitely takes effort. Trust me, you’ll be better off if you give it a try.
2. Set Healthy Boundaries
Self-love involves practicing putting yourself first. It’s OK to make sure your needs are met, and this means you might have to say no sometimes or even cut ties.
If you know a relationship or activity will affect you negatively, seriously question whether you should continue it.
It can be hard, but give yourself permission to cut people out of your life if they have a negative impact on you. The people you choose to have in your life should not be a constant drain on you mentally, physically, or spiritually.
Respect yourself enough to choose you over them.
Your time also has value. Aim to set healthy boundaries with those who could deplete your energy, such as work or complicated relationships.
Also make sure you’re getting some choice in how you spend your free time.
Stand up for yourself. You can do it.
3. Be You, Unapologetically
You are not what others think of you, and you don’t need their approval. You are worthy of love just as you are.
You shouldn’t have to compromise who you are, hide your true nature, or change yourself to earn love. If you find this happening, consider it a red flag and evaluate those boundaries we discussed.
Sometimes the hardest person to convince is yourself.
Please know that you can have personal goals to improve and still be deserving of love right now or at any point in your journey, flaws and all.
This means loving yourself no matter what you look like. Many of us would love to be many pounds lighter, have great hair, amazing skin… the list could go on and on.
Learning how to show yourself love means accepting yourself as-is, including recognizing the beauty and strength of your current body.
Make a commitment to drop the comparisons. Celebrate your best features and practice telling your body how much you appreciate it.
4. Challenge Negative Self-Thoughts
You might begin to notice that a lot of these methods are intertwined. They all have the same goal in mind—nurturing and appreciating you.
Show yourself love by working to silence your inner critic. Recognize and challenge negative self-thoughts when they occur.
Are you speaking to yourself as you would speak to a friend? If not, take a breath and try again.
If the voice inside your head has become quite nasty, it will take time to turn it around. It’s worth the effort.
Your constant inner monologue can definitely take a toll on how you feel from day to day.
Challenge the negative thinking. Instead of “I’m such an idiot,” you can say, “I’m doing my best.”
Just like this, find some positive phrases that you can repeat and use to show yourself compassion. You’ll really notice a difference over time.
5. Practice Self-Care
Showing yourself love also means making time to take care of your needs. You have to put your own oxygen mask on first before you can give to others.
I don’t mean this as an excuse for a treat yo’self mindset (put the credit card away), but everyone needs regular opportunities to rejuvenate.
First off, do the self-care that takes care of your basic needs like good nutrition, exercise, and sleep. These essentials keep your body and mind healthy.
Beyond that, do some things just for you that make you happy. This might mean having some alone time, doing an activity you enjoy, or taking yourself on a date.
What is one thing you can do just for you on Valentine’s day? Now how can you squeeze something in every day?
Choose relaxing and pleasurable activities that make you feel whole. Plan and complete them regularly with the purpose of benefiting you. Remember, it’s not selfish!
6. Make Choices According to Your Values
Living intentionally involves knowing yourself and making choices that put you closer to your ideal life. You’ll be showing yourself love every time you do this.
Place yourself in the driver’s seat of your life and do the things that feed your soul. Let your inner compass be your guide as you act as your own coach and cheer squad to sculpt your life into what you want it to be.
You don’t have to do the same things everyone else does. You can customize your path for you. There are so many possibilities ahead of you!
Knowing what matters to you and going after it will help fuel your passion for life. Valentine’s day is a perfect time to do some daydreaming and let your heart guide you.
Think about the temptations or roadblocks that might lead you away from your ideal path and take steps to reduce them so you’ll have a greater chance of success.
The Path to Self-Love
By now I hope you’ve realized that you’re flawed, and that’s OK. We all are. You’re also an amazing human with unique talents and traits all your own.
But you don’t need to hear how super you are from me—you need to hear it from yourself! When you can believe this, there’s no stopping how great you’ll feel in your own skin.
With this primer on how to show yourself love, you’ve got some great tools to nurture your mind, body, and soul. There’s no time like the present to get started.
Practice self-love on Valentine’s day and every day so you can experience the joy you deserve.