be your own valentine
Self love at its finest.
"You owe yourself the love that you so freely give to other people."
Photography by Shutter In Motion
As February 14th approaches on the calendar, everywhere you turn, shops are painted in hues of pink and red. There's flowers galore, teddy bears clutching hearts that say "I Love You", cards that read "Be my Valentine" and chocolates are on sale. You turn on the TV and perfume ads seem to flood the channels. It's definitely a time of year that has become very commercial and to be honest can cause a lot of persons to become panicked; trying to find the perfect gift(s) for their significant other.
I haven't been keen on 'celebrating' Valentine's Day. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not against the day itself or anyone choosing to celebrate it. But my rationale is why should we wait until one particular day of the year to make a grand gesture to someone; letting them know how much we love and appreciate them? Shouldn't that be be a daily thing?
In all of this planning the perfect day for someone else and going above and beyond, have you ever thought about making the day about YOU? Being your own Valentine? Think about all that you do on a daily basis and appreciate yourself for all that you've accomplished. You can't truly love someone until you love yourself, so here are some things that you can do to be your own Valentine. These tips aren't just for February 14th but can be applied at any season of your life.
SPEND TIME ALONE / TREAT YOURSELF
Going to the movies alone, taking yourself out for lunch or having a self-pampering day are just some of the ways that you can spend time with and take time for yourself. Our minds are such powerful tools and when worldly things consume us, we owe it to ourselves to take a break and focus on our mental health.
I can't emphasize this enough because I've seen, on a personal note, how stress and exhaustion affects me. It then puts things into perspective that I just need to slow down and do something for ME. One of my favourite ways to spend time alone is to go to the spa and get pampered. As a medical doctor, I'm always on my feet and I give so much of my time and energy to the care of my patients. Sometimes, I just need to take care of myself...and that's OKAY.
Never feel ashamed for spending time or money on yourself, especially when you are deserving of it. So go ahead and buy that pair of shoes you've been eyeing or go crazy on all that chocolate that's on sale!
You read that right, celebrate Valentine's Day regardless. Don't let the day itself make you resentful. It's been so easy for me to feel pressured by friends and of course family, that I'm expected to be in a relationship; because cousins and some close friends are getting *or are already married etc. There is no rule book that says when this has to happen. I've been single for some time and as a successful, ambitious and independent woman in my 20's, I've learned to leave everything in God's hands.
Why try to rush something that ultimately I have no control over? I've stopped allowing myself to feel insecure about the whole thing and you know what, I can still celebrate the day if I choose to. Get your best friends and hang out at your favourite restaurant or have a Galentine's Day with your best female friends. Make the day into what you want it to be!
Be genuinely happy for those that religiously celebrate the day with a husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend.
I started using a Gratitude journal this year from a lovely local stationery store called It's Pretty Productive. I've never used one of those and at first, knowing myself and how I sometimes have issues completing tasks because I lose interest; I've found myself fully invested in using it. At the end of each day, I take the time to sit with my journal and reflect on the hours that transpired; seeing where I could improve and where I've done well. There's also a section for positive affirmations and let me tell you, there is power in having a positive mindset.
On mornings and evenings during my skincare routine I like to repeat some of these affirmations and just be kind to myself. In this climate of social media and seeing an airbrushed version of reality, it's inevitable that we become consumed by it and start to doubt ourselves. We begin to think that we aren't enough and we're not beautiful. When in fact, most of what we see online is skewed. I consciously have to remind myself that people post the best versions of themselves and their lives online, so everything that I see, I take with a pinch of salt.
Words as simple as "I am enough", "I am capable of amazing things", "Today will be my day", "I am beautiful and perfection does not exist" are catalysts to creating that positive mindset and setting the tone for a great day and by extension, a greater more abundant life.
"You can never be overdressed or over-educated." - Oscar Wilde
If you've been following my page for while, you know my struggle with completing books that I've started reading #facepalm. I don't know what it is but I just find myself becoming uninterested easily. But then I realized, the book I was reading likely wasn't what I was meant to be reading at that particular time; so the words couldn't resonate with me.
This year, I plan to find a couple books that I think will sync well with my goals and mindset for the year. Reading is something I've had to do for years; reading for my Medical degree was difficult but necessary but I want to read more and learn from different perspectives. There are endless benefits to reading and consistently educating ourselves. In the words of Nelson Mandela "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world". The most beautiful thing about learning and educating oneself is that no one can steal that away from you.
"Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection" - Mark Twain
So all in all, turn days like this into an opportunity to invest in yourself and work toward creating the best version of you. Trust in God's timing and His plan for your life. Grow and glow in your season and avoid comparison; which is the ultimate thief of joy. So avoid comparing your chapter 5 to someone else's chapter 20. Allow yourself to bloom where you are planted.
How will you be celebrating Valentine's Day? Leave a comment below and don't forget to like this post and share it with your friends and family. Let's continue to be inspired together xo