“Become your own valentine” is a phrase I would have rolled my eyes at six years ago.
Throughout my life, I’ve had very mixed feelings about Valentine’s Day. As a child, I excitedly decorated my shoe box in preparation for the class party. Secretly I feared I would not get any valentines. And I held on to the card my 5th grade crush gave me for years, privately reading into the five letters he scrawled on the bottom (they were the 5 letters of his name).
As a teen, February 14 became a day I dreaded. I watched my friends receive flowers, candy, and stuffed animals. My stark plain locker stood out among those decorated with bows and signs. I never seemed to have a boyfriend and I started to believe there must be something wrong with me.
Like many girls, somewhere along the line I got the message I was not “OK” if I didn’t have a boyfriend. As if having the love and acceptance of a male somehow increased my worth as a person. I bought the lie we are all sold: that I needed a man to “complete me.”
Years later, when I had boyfriends, Valentine’s Day became an exciting time once again. I loved getting presents and feeling like I finally mattered. After all- a boy loved me.
Becoming my own valentine
After years of therapy and doing the healing work to break free from an eating disorder- I have finally found my own worth. I understand that I am valuable simply because I am. Not because another person buys me chocolates and flowers.
I do not rely on another person’s affection to justify my existence.
And I have learned to the most important love in the world to receive is from myself.
Before you stop reading this article, please understand one thing. I did not always feel this way. I used to hate the idea of affirmations and self love. It took me a long time to get here. Learning about mindful self compassion was a huge step forward. It has been a game changer in my recovery. I challenge you to open your mind to the possibility of trying a new way.
How To Become Your Own Valentine
Make a Date with Yourself
It sounds cheesy, I know. But part of the excitement of dating is looking forward to an evening spending time with someone you enjoy. Imagine your perfect day. Would you get takeout from your favorite restaurant, go hiking in the woods, or perhaps snuggle on the couch and watch your favorite movie? Whatever you would look forward to – make plans to do it with yourself.
Give Yourself a Gift
You deserve to treat yourself. Buy yourself some flowers. Gift yourself something special you have wanted. You don’t have to spend a large amount of money.
Just the act of treating yourself reinforces the truth that you are worth and loved.
Go Deeper with Your Gifts
Perhaps you have wanted to get back into therapy, but you fear it “costs too much money.” Or maybe there is a book on recovery you have wanted to read. What about that online course that has come across your screen that tugs at your gut every time you see it? Whatever is calling to you, follow it through. And know that you are worth it.
Invest in yourself and your recovery. That is truly the most valuable gift you can give yourself.
Lastly, remember that Valentine’s Day is just one day out of the year.