5 Fun Ways to Show Yourself Some Love This Valentine's Day

Self on 02.07.13
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Photo: Juliana Coutinho / Creative Commons

We all know that it’s important to throw our love around on Valentine’s Day to help our loved ones to feel special. But don’t forget about numero uno! In Psychology Today, Deborah Khoshaba, Psy.D. writes about how important self love is to our wellbeing:

Self-love is important to living well. It influences who you pick for a mate, the image you project at work, and how you cope with the problems in your life.

If you can’t love yourself for your own sake, then do it for those who are closest to you. Would you rather be around someone who feels good about themselves, or who is a neurotic, needy mess who likes to ignore the fact that she’s a neurotic, needy mess? Yeah, I thought so. Try one of these 5 actions for an instant boost in the self love department.

1. Make sure you receive flowers.

Photo: Clare Bell / Creative Commons

Whether your mate always buys you flowers for Valentine’s Day, never buys them, or falls somewhere in the middle, make sure it’s going to happen this year. Early in our marriage, I let my husband in on a secret: getting flowers for Valentine’s Day is important to me. Making my feelings known on the topic has paid off more than I could have known.

If you think flowers sound like a frivolous waste of money or that asking for them devalues the effect, then please think again. Consider this Rutgers University Department of Psychology study that found flowers have both immediate and long-term positive impacts on happiness, social behaviors and even memory for both males and females. Kapow! Flowers!

2. Enjoy a little bit of alone time.

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Does finding time to be alone sound impossible to you? It doesn’t need to be a lot of time. Even 5 or 10 minutes to just check in with yourself, journal, stretch, enjoy some calming breaths, or meditate to watch your thoughts can have a positive effect on your whole day -- maybe even your whole life.

Spiritual teacher and author Deepak Chopra says:

Embrace silence. Meditate and observe your breath. The silent space between your thoughts is a field of infinite possibilities.

This silence, this break from our frenzied internal narration about what we need to do, what we should have done, or what we should stop doing, is absolute heaven. It might take a little bit of practice to learn to enjoy silence, but once you experience this for yourself, you’ll never want to go back to your old distractions. Try to enjoy time alone daily -- not just as a Valentine’s Day gift to yourself -- but there's no better day to start!

3. Take yourself on a date.

Photo: Mitya Kuznetsov / Creative Commons

It’s so typical of parents, especially mothers, to say, “Take myself on a date? Are you crazy or just stupid? How the heck am I supposed to find the time to do that?” If that’s your response, then you aren’t very good at asking for help, or you’re afraid no one else can fill your shoes.

Do you have a relatively responsible person in your life who loves you (aside from your children)? Then your happiness and mental health is important to them, too. Stop being a martyr, and get somebody to hold down the fort while you traipse about town on your own, following your own agenda for once. Do something that you love. Take the time for the activities that make you feel joyful and alive. Hopefully, you can make this a regular occurrence, but if that’s too tall an order for now, just focus on this time.

4. Love yourself like your life depends on it.

Photo: Kamal Ravikant / Creative Commons

There is a tiny book that was written by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Kamal Ravikant that will change your life for the better, if you let it. The book is called Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It. This tiny book (68 pages) cuts to the chase and delivers some powerful exercises that deliver potent results in the self love department. For only $5 for the paperback or $3 for the Kindle version, and a minimal time committment, this book is well worth the investment.

If you think concentrating on loving yourself is a self-indulgent waste of time, I challenge you to follow the exercises in this book. You will find yourself acting kinder, more courageously and more lovingly towards everyone once you learn to be much kinder and loving with yourself.

5. Write yourself a love letter.

Photo: Ed Yourdon / Creative Commons

Are you the same person you were 10 years ago? No, of course not. Remember that every day, we change a little bit. We’re always evolving and growing, hopefully in the right direction if we’re conscious about it. Take the time to look back at your life and think fondly on all of your former “selves.” Congratulate them for all of the tough obstacles they overcame. Commiserate with your younger selves over the times that you didn’t have the wisdom of age to guide yourself to higher ground sooner.

Think about your current incarnation, where you stand right now, and write down 5 kind things about yourself. Think about the tough things you accomplish each day, your positive qualities, and ways that you act that are constructive to building a loving life and home for yourself and your family. Essentially, have gratitude for yourself.

Even if you only have time for just one or two of these self-love actions, the better prepared you’ll be to face daily challenges and stresses. The magical part is that when you feel better, you’ll start to notice and appreciate more ways to feel restored and to support your well-being. When you’re happy, everyone around you stands to benefit.

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