This Valentine’s Day, Choose Yourself

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Photo: Courtesy of Amy Shamblen

Sometimes love can be a grueling, convoluted, heart-breaking experience. And yet, time and again, we bravely open up our hearts and minds in the hopes that this time, this person will be worth it.

And yet, we rarely extend ourselves the same courtesy. How much better off would we be if we put half as much time, effort, and faith into loving ourselves?

When we love ourselves enough, we stop chasing the people that don’t love us the way we need to be loved, thereby ending the bad habit of picking unavailable partners. When we love ourselves, we stop compromising on our principles and abandoning our plans in order to win the affection of someone else. We start demanding more of and for ourselves, and we become committed to steering our lives in the direction we want to grow in. Through self-love, we finally have the courage to show up for ourselves. And there is nothing fickle about that.

With Valentine’s Day upon us, this is an opportune time to choose to become your own Valentine. Here are 20 ways to practice some self-TLC and work on your relationship with yourself.


Become mindful.

That means becoming aware of yourself and your inner thoughts and learning to be kinder and more accepting. Mindfulness has the power of transforming the way you live and feel.


Act on what you need rather than what you want.

Focus on what you need in order to feel centered and strong and to move forward in your life, rather than on the things that give you temporary satisfaction or excitement. This is an act of self-love, not self-preservation. By making your needs the priority over your wants, you are able to break free of the behavioral patterns that hold you back.


Set boundaries.

Some lines should never be crossed. Setting limits with family, friends, partners, and co-workers stops you from finding yourself in a situation where your physical, emotional, and spiritual energy is compromised.


Accept negative feelings.

It’s okay to not feel good about a situation or experience, but it’s not okay to keep internalizing that negativity and make it personal. You need to process your feelings and then move on.


Decide what it would take to forgive yourself and do it.

We’ve all done something that made us feel bad or ashamed. Figure out how to let it go. You can’t change the past but you can affect your future.


Celebrate all your wins, both big and small.

We all need a pat on the back for a job well done, no matter how big or small. It could be as simple as not thinking or saying anything derogatory about yourself, successfully avoiding calling a toxic ex, or not sabotaging your diet.


Get uncomfortable in order to grow.

Sometimes we need to sit with our feelings, without any distractions, to take stock of what is going on in our heads and deal with it.


Step out of your comfort zone.

When we do things outside of what is familiar and known to us, it makes us realize all the things we could achieve if we just gave it a shot.


Follow your passions.

We only have one life. Let’s spend it doing the things that bring us joy, gratitude, and satisfaction. In fact, let’s make this our life mantra.


Reach out to family and friends when you don’t want to be alone.

You don’t have to suffer in silence. Reaching out to people that you want around you when you are going through tough times is important in your healing process. Don’t feel bad for asking for company when you need it.


Learn to say no.

It doesn’t matter if that makes you a bad friend, spouse, daughter, or parent. Sometimes, saying no to the things that don’t make you feel good is the best thing you could do. If you take the time to explain that, people will understand.


Say yes to the things that give you pleasure.

If we could all spend more time doing the things that give us joy, we would be better people for it.


Be realistic.

No one is happy and satisfied all the time. Life is full of ups and downs. Recognize the bad day, bad mood, or unpleasant incident for what it is: a temporary thing. There is always good with the bad. That’s how life balances itself out.


Take the higher road.

A person with a strong ethical and moral compass would not demean themselves by stooping down to someone else’s level. Regardless of the situation, you can never regret being the better person.


Chill with the comparisons.

The only person you should compare yourself to is you. Period.


Nourish yourself.

We nourish ourselves when we take better care of our basic needs. Better sleep, better nutrition, more exercise, and healthy social interactions are all forms of self-love.


Practice gratitude.

There is always something to be grateful for. When you’re feeling down, you just need to think of one thing you are grateful for. It can shift the way you feel.


Do something kind for someone else.

When you help people, you also benefit from it and can draw positive feelings of pride, gratitude, and pleasure from the experience.


Cry it out.

Having a good, cathartic, solitary crying jag is a really good way to let out all those feelings chocking you up inside.


Hug it out.

A tight, long embrace has been scientifically proven to improve your mood and health. Go ahead and give someone you love a really big hug.

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