With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, love is in the air. For some of us, it can feel like love is in the air a little too much.  While there is often an emphasis on romantic love this time of year, it can be easy to neglect what I argue to be the most important form of love: self-love.

As indicated by the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, Self-Love can be defined as an appreciation towards oneself. 1 Self-love, therefore, is tied into self-growth because through self-love, we can nurture our self-growth with a developed appreciation of ourself.  Think of it as self-love being one pathway towards our journey of self-growth!

 

Practicing Self-Love

Self-love isn’t always easy.  Sometimes, we find ourselves putting our own needs on the back-burner.  Valentine’s day may be a particularly vulnerable time for our self-love because of the emphasis on being in a romantic relationship, and needing to focus love on others.  For those not in a relationship, it can make one feel a sense of being “left out” on this day.  For those who are in a relationship, there can be greater focus on one’s partner than on oneself.  Even if you love the hearts, chocolates, and flowers that this month brings, think about how you are putting the festivities of the day towards yourself.

I would like to encourage you this year to engage in acts of self-love to nurture the one relationship you’re always in: with yourself! Don’t worry about what others may think about giving yourself some time and love for yourself, because everyone should be practicing self-love.  And I promise, I am very proud of your for practicing this.  I am sending you virtual confetti!

Now before you go out and get started, I have included three strategies for you to try to jumpstart practicing self-love.  Plus, if you keep reading, there’s a bonus for you at the end to help implement these strategies.

 

Practice Being Comfortable with Yourself

Ask yourself, how comfortable am I being by myself for periods of time? Usually, this is easier when are in spaces that are comfortable or when we have things that can distract us (i.e. our phones, tablets, etc). What about being outside alone or attending an event by yourself?  This may be more challenging.

I encourage you to take some time and go be outside by yourself.  Try taking yourself out on dates and being present with the feelings and thoughts this brings up.  Tuning in with yourself on a daily basis through journalling is another great way of learning to become comfortable on your own.

After trying these out, ask yourself how are you feeling before you start the activity and then ask yourself again how you feel after the activity.  This does not only promote self-love but also self-growth through the discovering of things that interest you.  Some ideas to get you going include:

  • Going to a restaurant and asking for a table for one.
  • Going to a museum, zoo, aquarium, pop-up shop, etc.
  • Going to a live event such as a concert, comedy show, or other social gathering.
  • Going to the movies.

 

Treat Yourself

Many of us are familiar with this expression.  However, treating yourself does not have to mean purchasing expensive items or anything at all!  Treating yourself can mean buying your favorite latte, getting your nails done, or allowing yourself to go to bed early.  It can also mean practicing affirmations, showing acts of kindness towards yourself, or making space for rest and healthy boundaries in your day. Find what works for you, and you will soon find you are learning a lot more about yourself. The most important thing is to give yourself PERMISSION to treat yourself!

 

Self-Care

One of the greatest ways that we can show ourselves love is to make sure that we are taking care of ourselves.  Start with the basics.  Did you eat enough today?  Drink enough water?  Are you getting the proper amount of rest?  I challenge you to assess your needs and decide what is at least one area you can nurture more. Make a plan to take care of yourself in that area.  Commit to it.  For example, if you notice you aren’t staying hydrated, perhaps you can commit to filling up a water bottle in the morning with water and ice and take it with you throughout the day to stay hydrated.  I promise, with this form of self-love, you will be thanking yourself later on.  Then, once you have taken care of some of your physical health needs, you can move on to relaxation self-care strategies, such as a bubble baths, meditation, or a face mask. Self-care can be both practical and relaxing.

 

 A Self-Love Tool

I hope you’re starting to see that there are many ways to implement self-love not only this Valentine’s Day, but throughout the year.  While it may feel a little “strange” at first to practice, with time, it will come more easily.  As promised earlier, CLICK HERE for a free self-love coupon booklet with eight self-love acts.  Print and cut them out, set dates for when you will do them, and enjoy!

 

Online-Therapy for Self-love

Please know that practicing self-love can be hard to implement.  If you find this is an area which you struggle with and would like some additional support, our clinicians are here to help.  At online-therapy.com we have trained, compassionate staff who are here for you via video, phone, and text sessions to support you with where you are and what your needs are.  If you are interested and would like to learn more about our program, please feel free to check us out at: https://www.online-therapy.com/

Whether you are excited or dreading this Valentine’s Day, please remember YOU are important and have much to offer to yourself and to others.  In case you need it: this is your affirmation that it is okay to celebrate you!

 

 

References:

Borenstein, J. (2020, July 9). Self-love and what it means. Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. Retrieved February 3, 2022, from https://www.bbrfoundation.org/blog/self-love-and-what-it-means

Sources

  1. Borenstein, J.