Dating Yourself/Self Love

It’s impossible to get through February without thinking about love and romance. We think a lot about the love we have for others: our romantic partners or spouses, our kids, our families, our friends. But how often do we turn any of that love inward?

We’re conditioned to be pretty self-critical. From social pressure to family expectations to that mean little voice in your head that tells you that you’ll never be good enough, we get the message all the time that we’re somehow falling short. Even seemingly positive messages about beauty, wellness, or self care can reinforce a negative self-image by telling us that we must always be improving ourselves in some way.

But what if, instead of constantly practicing self-improvement, we practiced self-love? What if, rather than viewing ourselves from the perspective of everything that is wrong and needs to be fixed, we focused on appreciating everything that is already right?

Whether you’re single or coupled up during this Valentine’s Day, set aside some time to romance yourself.

Remember what we said about being self-critical? Sometimes we say things to ourselves that are so mean, we could never image actually saying them to someone else, especially someone we love. Would you ever tell your partner that they were ugly? Then why would you say it to yourself? The next time you notice that mean little voice saying something cruel, replace it with the words of a lover. “You’re so ugly” becomes “I think you look beautiful all the time”. Build yourself up with the same love and encouragement you would give to your partner.

Would you want to be in a relationship with someone who always put you last? No? Then think about making yourself a priority in your own life. Just as in a relationship, always feeling that your needs are being put on the back burner can make you feel unimportant and unloved. Of course you always want to be compassionate and considerate of others, but not at your own expense. The next time you have to make a decision or prioritize your time think about yourself first. Consider what you need and what will make you happy before taking other factors into account.

Valentine’s Day is a time for romantic gestures. From handwritten valentines to thoughtful gifts to romantic dinners, we try to make the day special with symbols of our love. So offer yourself a romantic gesture! Treat yourself to dinner at your favorite restaurant, indulge in a little pampering, or buy yourself flowers. Whatever you do, make it something just for you. Tailor it to your tastes, and don’t try to share it with someone else. Just focus on feeling special.