This month has always been a weird one for me. We have Groundhog’s Day (which I’ve come to see is another Pagan-inspired holiday), Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, and also Black History Month. And I’m sure even more that I’m forgetting. That’s a lot for one month, let alone a month with only 28 days (not counting leap year).
Also, I have some beef with Valentine’s Day.
Growing up my parents gave me a basket with little toys and candy every year, and then I had the typical school stuff. And as I got older, I started to romanticize the day of romance and expect this to be the day that my crush of the week professed his feelings for me. That never happened. Eventually, I started dating my now-fiancé and while we’ve been in love ever since, I still never really got into Valentine’s Day. Until this year.
See, I was very much in the mindset that you should be romantic and love-y to your partner all year long, not just on one day because Hallmark said so. I’ve learned about the origins of the holiday and being in a loving relationship has me less anti-Valentine’s Day (I actually hand-made a gift for my love this year, I’m excited!). I do still think you should show and tell those around you that you love them all year long, but I also just feel like something is missing with the common ways to spend the day.
I feel like the type of love that needs to be celebrated the most, and also the least talked about, is self-love. And self-care.
Do you love yourself? That’s a pretty invasive question, but I’m not sorry for asking.
Do you show yourself the same love that you show your partner, your friends, your family? Do you let yourself rest when you need it? Do you motivate yourself to work on achieving your goals, even when it’s hard? Do you drink water, eat food that is good for you, and move your body?
Do you establish boundaries? Do you stand up for yourself and speak your truth? Do you also not give energy to the things that do nothing for your soul?
This may be a concept you’re not familiar with. You may not have been raised with the mindset that you are the most important person in your life – you can’t be there and serve others if you are not going through your life at your best.
Self-care has been a trendy subject lately, but I’m not seeing a lot of depth with the mainstream conversation. #selfcare is full of bubble baths and face masks, but self-care is so much more than that. Self-care is, quite simply, taking care of yourself. Supporting yourself, being there for yourself. It sometimes does look like a nice hot bath and pampering, and sometimes it looks like quitting a job that drains you. Sometimes it is going for a walk, or doing some moderate retail therapy for clothes, or having some tough-love conversations with yourself. It can look like dedicating a few hours on a Saturday morning to work on tasks when you’d rather be doing something else, but ultimately the productivity will make you feel good too.
Self-care looks like being honest with yourself and finding a balance between what you want and need. It’s ordering a salad because pizza doesn’t make you feel great, and it’s also having ice cream for dinner on nights where you’re hungry but don’t feel up to doing anything. It looks like distancing yourself from friendships that weigh you down and it also looks like holding space for people to be in your life who are going through journeys you may not even be aware of. It looks like cleaning your room some days and also looks like leaving the laundry for a week when you just can’t get to the place of caring.
Self-care looks like being your own best friend. Self-love looks being your own damn hype man. And if this relationship with yourself has been something you’ve been neglecting, let this Valentine’s Day be a reminder that you are deserving of love from yourself, too. ❤