The blog below was written by Oby, a member of the SelfharmUK training team.
There was a period in my life when thoughts of Valentine’s day would fill me with either excitement or dread, depending on my relationship status. I know it was the same for many of my friends. We are told that Valentine’s day is all about love and whilst it is great to have a special day dedicated to love, it feels unfair that romance is the most celebrated on Valentine’s day. Surely there are other types of love and relationships which are just as significant if not more, in our lives? What about the love of a BFF or Bestie who knows you inside out and was there to wipe your tears when your romantic love broke your heart? Surely such love is worth celebrating. And then there’s the Bromance type of love, having a real mate to give you a man hug when life feels down, is worth a shout out on Valentine’s day. Then there is the love of family: parents, siblings, aunties, uncles, godparents, grandparents and the list goes on and on. Love has so many faces and means different things to different people and if we had an all-inclusive love day, then no one would be left feeling like a bystander whilst loved up couples enjoy flowers, treats, chocolates and fancy dinners for two only.
Sadly, there is one type of love that is constantly underrated, despite being so pivotal in enabling other types of love to thrive. And that is Self-love. Isn’t it interesting that we place so much value and emphasis on giving our hearts to the “one true love” but so little time and heart for ourselves. There is a saying that in order for us to love others wholly and truly, we need to love ourselves first. Many think it is selfish to love ourselves in this way, but there is a difference between self-love and being selfish or self-absorbed. Self-love is about being nurturing to yourself, not being critical of you, accepting that you are enough, warts and all. It is about placing value on yourself and treating you with kindness and respect. The more I learned to love myself in this way, the more accepting and gracious I became towards others. The more I loved and accepted myself, I found my desperation to place my happiness in the hands of “the one” disappeared. I stopped hankering after someone to love me, because that hole was nearly filled. And I could recognise a mile off those who were not deserving of my love and whose love would add positively to mine and edify me.
So here is my challenge to you for Valentine’s: and this applies whether you are in a relationship or not. Be Your Valentine’s. Send yourself a moon-pig card with words of love and treat yourself to something nice. Schedule a date with yourself, either in doors watching a movie or outdoors doing something fun. Spend time writing words of affirmation on post it notes all around your room.
Here are my words of affirmation:
I am worthy
I am beautiful
I am enough
I am good
I am imperfect and that is okay!
Now it’s your turn. Write down 5 affirmation statements
And you know what is even better? You can do this 365 days of the year, not just on Valentine’s day.
Oby Bamidele (MBACP) is a counsellor and coach with a passion for helping people build emotional resilience and inner resources to overcome mental health and life challenges.