In my therapy practice, I’ve often noticed an increase in stress, anxiety, and depressed mood the week before Valentine’s Day. Men and women who are not in committed relationships report feeling more vulnerable, insecure, and even “inadequate” as they face the reality that no one will be sending them flowers, candy, jewelry, or a loving card. I would never minimize the sadness that might accompany being dateless on Valentine’s Day. And yet, I would like to dispel the idea that you need someone else to offer you words or trinkets of love in order to feel worthy or cherished. Since the media and our culture seems determined to shine a spotlight on the notion of love in February, why not use it as an opportunity to reconnect with feelings of self-love and self-worth rather than waiting for or needing that validation from someone else. Here are a few suggestions to try:
There are many ways to be your own best valentine. And the good news is, you dramatically decrease disappointment and increase actually getting your needs met when you do these things for yourself! No matter how generous other people may be with their gifts and loving words, the truth is, your sense of self-esteem is most powerfully reinforced by the kind words you tell yourself and the loving gestures you do for yourself.
Let us know how you’ve chosen to be your own valentine this year, and remember to keep that positive, self-affirming behavior going all year round!