Valentine's Day... why not prioritise self-love this year

How about this year we turn Valentine’s Day on its head, and instead of just showing our love to others, we indulge in some self-love too, says EIMEAR HUTCHINSON
Valentine's Day... why not prioritise self-love this year

Don’t be afraid to take time out for yourself, says Eimear Hutchinson, as a form of self-care and self-love. Picture: Stock

VALENTINE’S Day is probably one of the more divisive ‘celebrations’ we have in the year - some absolutely love it, most are probably fairly indifferent and plenty hate it.

A ‘Hallmark holiday’ is what my husband likes to refer to it as, yet he feels the pressure to buy me flowers. I quite like it, I mean obviously I enjoy getting flowers, personally I don’t do anything wildly romantic.

However, I do always relish the opportunity to write a card to him, telling him how much I appreciate all that he does and that I love him, things I tell him regularly anyway but it’s always nice to put it in print.

When it comes to Valentines Day, it is usually all about showing love to other people, be that your partner, your children or friends. 

However, I have a suggestion; how about this this year we turn it on its head and, without forgetting other people, because they are important too, what about practising some self-love and appreciation?

What does it mean to love oneself? I don’t mean it in the sense that all Irish people would turn their nose up at the notion of loving oneself, I think there is a misconception that loving yourself means parading around with your head in the air smugly confident of your every move. But self love isn’t like that, it’s more subtle. Think of it this way, how do you love other people? You accept and appreciate their flaws, loving them despite the faults; self-love is about rewarding yourself with that same compassion you give to others.

When people are happy and comfortable in their own skin, that sort of warmth and comfort radiates out.

Generally, people who are happy with themselves are more patient, kinder and more loving with others because their own inner voice is patient, kind and loving. Of course, we all go through phases of being hard on ourselves or doubting ourselves for whatever reason, but it is knowing when to put the brakes on the negative self-thought, to celebrate your strengths and to speak kindly to yourself that is important. If I have a bad day, if I am impatient with the children or I just can’t seem to get on top of things, I always take the time to leave that day behind once I go to bed, tomorrow will always be a new day.

We all have faults, if we are honest with ourselves, and have to learn to accept them and not to focus on our own faults. 

I have many flaws, I am impatient, but I’ve learned to balance that with being humble, if I am impatient with the girls, I am quick to apologise and admit my failing. I am getting better at being patient but I have my moments, like we all do.

It probably takes most of us many years to start to love ourselves, as we grow older we grow wiser, I for one have grown to care far less about what people think of me and what other people have, focusing more on being grateful for what we have, our health, our families and friends. Having the inner self-assurance to be able to know what you want as opposed to being led by those around you is a true reflection that you have conviction in yourself as a person.

Invest in yourself, take the time out to give yourself the headspace to figure out what you want from life, go for a walk, do some yoga, or just simply relax and be present with your thoughts. Switching off is very important, I say this to my girls all the time, we all need a break from the outside world, away from phones, television, other people and outside influences.

Don’t be afraid to demand that time too, saying no to things and knowing when you are stretched is important, this is something I am working on a lot more lately having felt pulled in a thousand directions for a while.

That’s not to underestimate the power of surrounding yourself with positive people, keep people who are kind and who treat you with respect close to you, if their energy matches yours, the friendship is very special.

So turn this Valentine’s Day on its head and put yourself up there with the list of people who deserve love, if you don’t already.

Think positively about yourself, do what makes you happy, not what pleases others. It might be something we all work on for the rest of our lives but you are worth the investment.

It is important to take that time to become your own person and to learn to love that person, because you are going to be stuck with yourself for the rest of your life!

Happy Valentine’s Day to me!

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