Be Your Valentine
“How you love yourself is how you teach others to love you.”
– Rupi Kaur
We couldn’t resist the opportunity this week to talk about Valentine’s Day, this special day when we are encouraged to celebrate the ones we love with gifts of chocolates and flowers.
Our first thought is, “Shouldn’t we be grateful for the ones we love every day?”
Followed closely by “Perhaps we could use this day to examine how loving we are to ourselves?”
There is debate about the origin of Valentine’s Day. It may be linked to the Roman festival of Lupercalia which celebrates the approaching Spring and fertility. Later the Catholic Church marked February 14th as a day to recognise the martyred Saint Valentine (of which there were 2 or 3 to choose from). Some historians believe that Chaucer was the first to suggest a romantic element to the 14th followed many years later by Shakespeare. The romance has blossomed since then and is now a phenomenon worth billions. According to National Geographic, the first Valentine’s Day card came from the Tower of London in 1415. Now millions of cards are sent and it is, of course, the most popular day for a surprise proposal.
It can be lovely to both send and receive a gift on Valentine’s Day but taking a step back, why do we need a specific day to celebrate our loved ones? Maybe, rather than a grand gesture once a year, we could focus on showing how much they mean to us every day. This might be with our words or our actions; gentle care, a shoulder to cry on, or a cup of tea when needed.
The gifts we give can be practical such as helping with a task or offering a lift. They can also be psychological, believing in someone, motivating them, nurturing their talents, helping them grow and develop.
There is something incredibly nourishing about a consistent, positive relationship with another. Someone to help you up when you fall down. Those who have such a relationship can honour it and feel grateful every day, not just on Valentine’s day.
Even more powerful however, is our relationship with ourselves. Many of us treat ourselves poorly. We do not believe we are worthy of great things and we choose to think negative thoughts about ourselves and what we have achieved. Nothing is ever good enough. We don’t take care of ourselves and engage in activities that we know will sabotage us or are even harmful.
Imagine if we were the consistently nourishing, positive role model for ourselves. Perhaps this Valentine’s Day we could start to turn our huge capacity to love and care inward; believing in ourselves and recognising our worth, knowing that we can be whatever we want to be, being at peace with all parts of the Self, and choosing constructive thoughts, positive feelings and productive behaviours.
This year write a Valentine’s Day card to yourself.
Write down all the things that you like about yourself.
The things you are proud of
Your most beloved traits
The things people comment on that make you feel good
Take some time to acknowledge the things you dislike about yourself
The things you feel ashamed of
The things you would like to change
Do not be afraid
Take this opportunity to re-evaluate these parts of Self
Know that they are present in every being
Understand that their presence does not define you
We are defined by our thoughts, feelings and actions, and these you can choose
Think what you would write to a person to encourage and inspire them
Write those words to you, for you.
You are loved
You are whole
You are worthy
Read this card and mean it everyday not just on Valentine’s Day