There are two kinds of people in this world.
One who, as the middle of February nears, dons their sweetheart-print pajamas and nestles all snug in their beds, with visions of heart-eyed anime characters dancing adorably in their heads.
Then there’s the other kind, who, as February 14th looms nearer, approaches the date with a more – umm – Grinch-y perspective, celebrating on Facebook with a lengthy rant about how Valentine’s Day is nothing but a holiday created by Hallmark in order to get you to buy more cards and chocolates and flowers that will eventually just wither and die, because NIHILISM!
Maybe, at some point in your life, you’ve even been both those people. I know I have.
One thing is for certain, though: whether you’re single or partnered, you deserve to be your OWN Valentine this year.
Merriam-Webster defines a “valentine” as:
1: a sweetheart chosen or complimented on Valentine's Day
2a: a gift or greeting sent or given especially to a sweetheart on Valentine's Day; especially a greeting card sent on this day
2b: something (as a movie or piece of writing) expressing uncritical praise or affection
Let’s put the materialistic argument around 2a to the side for the purposes of this post, and just focus on 1 and 2b… OK?
When is the last time you looked at yourself in the mirror and gave yourself a good old-fashioned compliment?
Seriously. Think about it. I’ll wait.
What? Never? You can’t remember? Girl!!
Now, when’s the last time you said something critical about yourself?
That’s one’s easy, right?
A day ago? An hour ago? A few minutes ago?
Most of us engage in negative self-talk. We know we’re not alone in this. And we know we shouldn’t be doing it, too. We read dozens of articles on why this form of self-criticism backfires, but we still find ourselves saying things that we wouldn’t say to our own worst enemies.
Let me say it loud and clear: Self-deprecation does NO ONE any favors. It’s not cute. It’s not funny. It teaches our children that it isn't socially acceptable to feel good about ourselves. And it’s an insult to the gifts you were either given, or that you worked so hard to have!
So few of us engage regularly in self-complimentary or self-approving talk. When, really, just a few loving words a day can do wonders in eroding the walls of doubt that we’ve built up around ourselves.
Maybe you can’t see yourself waking up each morning and giving yourself a mental pep-talk. (“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!”)
But what if, this Valentine’s Day, you looked at yourself in the mirror – just this once – and said three things you love about yourself?
How would that make you feel?
Proud? Silly? A little of both? Maybe. But I guarantee you that you wouldn’t feel as bad as you do when you’re berating yourself for that second cupcake. You just might – gasp! – feel kind of good about it.
Well, here's the rub. You deserve that feeling. That warm glow in your heart only comes when you let yourself love YOU. So, this year, the first person you compliment as your valentine should be yourself. Put on your oxygen mask first, honey, so you can then go help others.
It’s the second part of the definition that I really loved: “something expressing uncritical praise or affection.” Key word: uncritical.
You wouldn’t go on a Valentine’s Day date with your loved one and complain about the food or the wine or the movie or the company the whole time, right? You wouldn’t receive a Valentine’s Day card drawn by your child and tell her that she could have colored within the lines better, would you? Of course not. It is a day to focus on how much you love and appreciate the people around you. So, approach yourself in the same manner.
Make a commitment to yourself: “This Valentine’s Day I will engage in one day of NO self-criticism.”
It’s that simple.
Wake up on February 14th and say three things to yourself that you kick @$$ at.
“I’m a great mom.”
“I am calm and collected in emergencies.”
“I’m awesome at championing others.”
“I have beautiful eyes.”
“I can mix a mean margarita.”
Then, if you catch yourself starting to say something self-critical throughout the day… STOP. Remember that it’s Valentine’s Day, remember that YOU are your own valentine today, and forgive yourself. Then replace that criticism with one more thing that you’re excellent at. (“I was really good at appreciating the delectable taste of that second cupcake!”) Then pat yourself on the back, because you, my dear, are doin’ alright.
P.S. For the second post in this “Be Your Own Valentine” series, I’m going to write up 10 great ways to do exactly that! And I’d love to hear from you – what’s your favorite way to be your own valentine? I’m going to start with a face mask, a glass of wine, and a bubble bath, obvi. So, take it from there, add yours in the comments below! xx, e
Dare Fashion believes that women of all shapes and sizes have a right to clothes that make them look and feel beautiful. Subscribe to our email newsletter, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest: @darefashionusa
Erin is a woman in love with how words sing to the ear and the heart. She moonlights as a travelphile, a craft beer expert, an animal lover, and a committed karaoke singer. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram: @esavestheworld
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