Valentine's Day: A Holiday for (Self) Love

Every year around February 14th, the stores aisles fill with red and pink decorations covered in hearts and messages of love. People rack their brains trying to think of the right way to show their significant other how much they mean to them, through a nice dinner or a thoughtful gift. Singles try to focus more on showing love to their friends, maybe planning a girls night or sending out cute paragraph messages filled with the things they love most about them. Valentine's Day is recognized as the day of love, and it’s easy to see love through external actions, like Instagram stories and cute cards with “Love you” scribbled on the inside.

When it comes to love, as easy as it is to give it to others, it can be just as noticeable when we feel like we are missing love. This day can bring out so many loving emotions that we recognize the lack of love we feel on the other days throughout the year - including the gap we may feel towards ourselves. We send nice messages out, or plan something special for someone we care about, but can’t remember the last time we took some time to do something solely because we wanted to, or looked in the mirror and pinpointed something we love about ourselves.

Defining love can be difficult, and we often remove ourselves from this equation. We think of the right ways to love other people while struggling to feel comfortable with who we are. On Valentine’s Day, it can be especially difficult when comparing ourselves to other people who seem to be “more loved” than us. Hearing about the romantic dates your friends are being treated to while you spend another Valentine’s Day on your own can feel awful. By default, we shut out the holiday, resort to self decipricating humour, and associate the day of love with a day of reflecting on what we do not have.

What we often fail to recognize is that a huge part of love comes from inside of us. The root of all love is ourselves, and love exists in many different ways. To envy the love we do not have discredits what we do have, and where we receive love from. Most important is the love we have for ourselves. When fighting to ignore Valentine’s Day because we feel unloved, we resort to a place of non-acceptance for ourselves.

Love comes in different forms, and that is something we need to actively acknowledge. So this Valentine’s Day, single or not, take a moment to say something nice to yourself. To think about the parts of yourself you love. To do something you love, even if it’s for a very short period. Embrace the meaning of love, and realize that it applies to you. Fulfill yourself with the love that exists around you rather than focusing on where you feel it is lacking.

Self love is important every day of the year. And as much as we are encouraged to give love to those in our lives on Valentine’s Day, that applies to us as well. So instead of writing off this holiday or associating it with negativity, use it to show love in all the ways that you can to all the people who you have, including yourself.