Be Your Valentine

The “Feast of St. Valentine” was originally established by Pope Gelasius in 496 AD in honor of Saint Valentine of Rome. The day became associated with romance in the late 14th century and, like most holidays, became a significant cultural and commercial holiday over time to become “Valentine’s Day”.

Today many people celebrate Valentine’s Day with shows of affection and gifts. Other people, however, find the day to be a burdensome reminder of being single.

In my previous Valentine’s Day blog , I wanted to stray from the romantic norms to discuss heart health as a point of focus. An important way to love yourself without the flowery language around spa treatments and mediating. Of course, loving yourself should entail your mental health as well as your physical health, but sometimes people don’t want to read about the spiritual side of life or how treating yourself to a massage will make your life better. Can it? Sure, but for practical purposes there are lot of things to focus on aside from wether or not you are romantically satisfied or feel good moments.

For some, Valentine’s Day (and many other holidays) bring feelings of inadequacy or depression to the surface and that needs to be addressed. Many people don’t realize how advertising and social media can effect some of us that don’t see such holidays the same way. It can be a painful reminder and is why I also wrote a blog discussing this type of seasonal depression during the holiday season.

Experiencing love comes in many shapes and forms. To focus on romantic love only is unfair to the very concept of love! Do you love animals? Maybe Valentine’s Day is a great day for you to make a donation to your local animal shelter or do some volunteer work to assist. If you are a movie buff, post on your social media about your favorite movies and why you love them. Are you a musician? Record a cover of the song you love most and discuss why you love it. Learn to cook your favorite dish and invite friends and family over to enjoy it with you.

The point is, there are lots of ways to experience and appreciate love that do not require romance. Any therapist will tell you that loving yourself is more important than any other love and you will never fully achieve other forms of love without conquering this first important step.

To discuss ways to love yourself often circles back to an abundance of articles about exercise, diet, meditation, soul searches and other ideals that might seem daunting. Sometimes, adding these foreign concepts to our routines can be intimidating.

But what about what you don’t love? Is there something you don’t love about your life that’s holding you back? Maybe Valentine’s Day is a good moment for you to reflect on this aspect of your life as well.

If you don’t love what you spend most of your time doing, it takes a toll on your life as a whole. It might be a good time to review your employment and decide if that relationship is still working for you or if you need to revamp your resume. Perhaps you have friends or family who take advantage of you and you need to focus on strengthening your boundaries and garnishing respect. If anyone in your life makes you feel used rather than appreciated, it might be a good time to weigh the pros & cons of the relationship and research how to carefully implement the necessary changes to resolve that situation. Are you uncomfortable in your own home? Maybe it’s time to rearrange the furniture or change the paint or possibly even relocate. Do-it-yourself projects can be very fulfilling. With modern technology, you can do a simple search for D-I-Y videos and articles to achieve almost anything from refinishing an antique piece of furniture to arrange your home for the most harmonious feng shui in your environment.

Sometimes the love you need is right in front of you, but you can’t see it because life gets in the way. You may think, ‘yes there’s some good suggestions in this blog but I just don’t have the time.’ Reality is, loving yourself is making the time to do what’s right for YOU. Changes can be hard to implement, but the harder they are the more rewarding the outcome. Don’t be afraid to change your life for the better and don’t settle for complacency because it’s easier. If you want to find love on Valentine’s Day or any day, look no further than addressing your own needs whatever they may be and start taking steps to accomplish them. It’s right there in front of you and you will love it once you try it!