The New Valentine's Day Mandate
The history of Valentine's Day and what it's come to mean now – some say an overly-commercialized and manufactured holiday – almost doesn’t matter anymore. The bottom line is that this supposed "official day of love" has always been rife with expectations of cards, flowers, jewelry, fancy dinners and romantic picnics and even marriage proposals. It's hyper focused on the outward act and expression of love and affection, and centered on your lover, your friends, family, etc.
But what about the inward expression of love? Love for oneself?
In the past there was no real definition or good example of what self-love really was, let alone what it looked or felt like. So whenever a woman did anything close to what we now recognize as self-love, or God forbid she actually said "I'm taking care of myself", it was thought of as conceited or selfish. Then there's the often self-inflicted guilt that comes with this decision, and it's like a rope around our neck… Don't get me started on the guilt – I know because I still struggle with it and that's a whole 'nother post Sis! And as far as we've collectively come on this topic, I see us all still struggling with the simple act of taking care of ourselves.
Yes, bubble-baths, the "girls night out" (once Covid's under control of course), and quiet time with a good book and a hot cuppa tea all definitely matter! But I also say understanding what it means to love yourself, and what that actually looks like…what it actually feels like, matters just as much if not more. It could mean setting and sticking to boundaries. It could mean ending a relationship that doesn't work for you anymore, or finally allowing yourself to have one. It could mean starting that business, or opening yourself up to new friendships. It could mean allowing yourself to feel the feelings – anger, loneliness, joy, fear, etc… and know that you'll be ok; probably even better actually because you're getting to know yourself and what you need on a deeper, more meaningful level.
Look, I’m not gonna lie to you… a big part of loving ourselves, truly, means paying attention to ourselves as much as we do our kids, that project at work, following that diet/exercise plan, or how clean our house is. It means digging deep and asking ourselves some tough questions, knowing that we may not like or even have the answers to. And that's absolutely ok! So I want to change the narrative, I want to readjust the focus of Valentine's Day has been, to what it should ALSO mean - self-love, self-care, and putting ourselves first without the guilt.
Look Sis... It's time to nurture yourself, and to speak and treat yourself with respect. It's time to get clear about your accomplishments, comfortable with what makes you so amazing – then celebrate them! Give yourself the gift of love this year! Take inventory and figure out what you need to do to love yourself.
Be well Sis 💜