With February 14th rapidly approaching, it’s time to take stock of your love life. No, we’re not talking about your significant other or lack thereof. Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s, Galentine’s, some sort of Treat-Yo-Self, or the underrated Single Awareness Day, there’s one person in your life whose needs you’ve probably been ignoring. You.
Don’t worry, though, we’ve got a few ideas to help you make this year extraordinary for that special someone you truly can’t live without, someone who most likely deserves more love than you’ve been showing her or him. In fact, we have seven ideas.
Yes, you may have other plans lined up already for Valentine’s Day, but make sure you set aside some you time too. Ditch the husband, girlfriend, kids, job, or whatever takes you away from yourself and give some of that time back. It doesn’t have to be the whole day, half the day, or even several hours, but gift yourself a moment. Take a break from all the other roles you play and just bask in being yourself, whatever version of you gives you the most joy today. Don’t feel bad about it. You’ve earned it. You deserve it.
Look in the mirror. Is that person you see reflected back at you exactly who you hoped you would be at this time? Most likely not. You’re picking out imperfections, inside and out, aren’t you? Harping on your weight, your complexion, your hair? Reminding yourself of all the unachieved goals, the failures, the abandoned projects, the broken hearts, and crushed dreams? Stop that!
We are entirely too negative and mean to ourselves. Talk to yourself like you would a friend. And accept yourself for who you are right now, not some idealized, hoped-for version of yourself sitting on an unattainable pedestal in your mind somewhere. That person is a fiction. Who you are now is flawed, because we’re all flawed, but that person is also unique and in possession of talents all your own. You are remarkable and worthy of love, especially from yourself.
Part of the reason our internal self-talk is so negative is because it’s also deeply difficult to extend forgiveness to ourselves. Once again, treat yourself like you would a friend. We are so quick to forgive our friends and family most of the time. We can empathize with their situations and see the thoughts and patterns that guide their actions. Try that with yourself. You deserve empathy and forgiveness too, especially when you are trying to do better. Go back to that mirror, look yourself in the eyes, and say it out loud. “Today, I forgive you for ______.”
Yes, you’ve had resolutions fall apart before January was over, you’ve written goals that never came true, you’ve abandoned dreams as life altered your trajectory through life. You see those all too clearly, think about them, run through what-ifs in your head, rehash conversations that went poorly, and regret so much. But are you celebrating the wins? Did you throw a party for the goals you did achieve? Do you congratulate yourself for doing something healthy like taking the stairs or ordering a salad? Do you do a tiny dance party when you break a bad habit? Do you give yourself a high five when you go a whole presentation without saying “um” once? Use this Valentine’s Day to walk yourself through some of the best things you’ve done in your life and honor each one.
Valentine’s is the perfect time to do something nice for yourself. Treat yourself to a massage, a dessert you don’t normally indulge, a movie you’ve been dying to see, an outfit you want to try out. Don’t break the bank or put yourself in debt, of course, but it isn’t terrible to self-gift now and again, especially if you’re one of us prone to constant self-sacrifice.
You may also benefit from gifting someone else something nice, including time. Sadness, guilt, and self-conscious anxiety can often be broken up or lifted by some selflessness. Doing something sincere for another person can be a good way to love yourself more.
Passion is important in any relationship, that includes the one you have with yourself. Find your passion, that thing that really makes you feel alive, joyful, happy, motivated, and inspired. What drives you? What feeds your soul? Find it and do it. No, this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to switch professions this February. It could mean you start a new hobby or revive one you’ve let fall on the wayside. Hobbies are important.
No can be an ugly word, but it can also be your best friend. Setting boundaries isn’t a terrible idea when they put your mental and physical health first. On airplanes during the preflight safety guidelines, we are always told to put our oxygen mask on first before helping others. It is awfully hard to help anyone put on an oxygen mask when you pass out before you can. Yet we do this to ourselves in so many other aspects of our lives, rushing to help others with their needs, wants, problems, desires, goals, and happiness before prioritizing those things for ourselves. This hollows us out, and slowly diminishes our ability to help anyone. You must take care of these things for yourself too. Be brave. Say no now and again, feed your own happiness, and put your mask on first.