Valentine's Day can be sticky for a lot of people (and not just because of all the candy). While the general focus of the day should be on letting the people in your life know how much you love them, our culture tends to put the emphasis on today being about romantic love over everything else.
If you are not single by choice, if you have lost a partner to death, divorce or a relationship ending before you were ready, or if you are unable to physically be near your lover, you probably dread this day and want it to be over with as soon as possible. I hear you. I see you. I feel your pain.
I want this Valentine's Day to serve as a reminder that you do not need to have romantic love in order to love yourself. Yes, this might mean you miss out on chocolates, bubble baths, and prix fixe dinners, though those are all nice, of course. What it does mean is that you spend the day focusing on your whole self, not just on the perceived flaws. It means talking to yourself the way you would talk to your best friend and not your worst enemy. It means taking responsibility for things in your life which you can control and practicing acceptance over things you cannot. And most importantly, it means you understand that in order to receive love from others, you need to start off with the conviction that you are deserving of love and kindness.
So with that, I wish everyone a happy Valentine's day! This article lists 20 authentic ways to love yourself today. I challenge you to practice at least one.
Kelly is a licensed clinical social worker in South Jersey.
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