God knows this “holiday” carries with it the undertone of depression and apathy, especially if you, like me, are single yet again this year. It can be quite easy to give way to those little thoughts that rummage deeper into negativity and poor self-talk. Hell, if you’re definitely like me, your mother’s voice may pop in somewhere, reminding you of how old you are and, as a woman, how many more years you have until your uterus dries up.
I’ve thankfully found my way to methods that can turn this annual day of hearts and kisses into something that won’t make me want to dive elbow deep into a box of chocolates and many bottles of wine. Over the years and through my own writing and exploring, I’ve studied the art of self-love. What is it? What does it mean? How do you do it without it feeling like a rouse? I’ve realized that real, authentic self-love is the kind of love that doesn’t put on a pretty face when sad. It’s the kind of love that we give to ourselves in ways that are honest and messily truthful. It’s only in this way, I’ve found, that we can appreciate the many nuances of love, in general. Luckily, this same kind of love exists in relationships and between couples, so even if we’re single, the love is still the same. It’s just packaged differently.
If you’ve found yourself on the single side of Valentine’s Day this year, take a journey to experience your own real self-love, instead. Here’s how:
- Release your pent-up energy – It may not sound like a day at the spa, but we carry energy in our subtle and physical body that can sometimes go stale. Whether we’ve hoarded negative feelings about past love or have pushed down emotions from past heartbreak or crappy exes, these energies weigh us down. Come Valentine’s Day, it’s no wonder we may feel even heavier. I’m a fan of using the day as a means of self-love spring cleaning. Go sweat it out at a Power Yoga class or go for a jog while listening to some serious ass-kicking music. Sweat. If you’re not a fan of physically releasing this energy, and if gyms are not your cup of tea, try spring cleaning the good ol’ fashioned way – punch the shit out of your pillow, or go somewhere and scream freely and proudly. You are a loving, compassionate being of fucking light! You don’t need this kind of bad juju in your system. Get it out, and say ‘good riddance!’
- Make yourself a cup of tea and smile – Now that you’ve gotten the worth-less stuff out of the way (literally), it’s time to plan your day. I like to start with tea, but you may pour yourself anything that feels needed in that moment. This is your day. Once the energy that has blocked and pestered your perception is gone, you can tap into that delicious self-love a whole lot easier. You may no longer feel the pull towards hating this day, just because you’re single, and if you do, go back to step 1. You’ve still got work to do. Self-love is not just sitting pretty and putting on a forced grin. It’s work. It’s drilling down to the bits of your experience that no longer serves you, so that you can let it go. You are worthy of this work!
- Put on your favorite song and dance – I’m serious. No humming while seated, or any of that head-bobbing like you’re at the theater. Get up and dance, and maybe even break a sweat! The beautiful thing about this is that you can dance and sing your heart out, and you’ll never frown for a moment. It’s impossible! And smiling leads to laughter, which leads to a higher frequency vibration, which leads to a new habit pattern – love.
- Go! – Go outside. Take a walk in nature, or take your dog for a walk. Go shopping. You don’t have to spend a fortune or make it complicated; treat yourself to something you’ve wanted and to something that adds value to your life. Sit down to a dinner for one. Trust me, it’s gloriously liberating to do this with yourself, for yourself. You don’t need an entourage to enjoy a chicken dinner! But if you do, call up a friend or your mom or that neighbor who watches your cat when you’re on vacation. Laugh and smile with them, and enjoy their company. This day is about your self-love, the real kind that started with punching pillows and that now tails into jokes and life-long connections.
- Before you go to bed, write about your day – Make a list of what you experienced, from acknowledging your emotions to releasing them. How did it feel to let that go? More importantly, how did it feel to feel those emotions and let them be heard? Then, make a list of what and who you’re grateful for on this day. Keep the list as a reminder that every Valentine’s Day moving forward will be a chance for you to never forget the love that starts it all – your own.
We talk and write about self-love profusely, myself included. It’s a practice that is worth its weight in gold, but it’s a practice that we ought to walk in balance and stride, knowing that it’s OK to cry, laugh, scream, and dance in this search for it. Whatever your situation this Valentine’s Day, find the lightness and the heaviness in it. Then, learn, release, and keep loving, as hard as you can.