How do you find yourself this valentine's day? Does it matter to you or does this date pass by with a cynical nod to the commercial machine that encourages us to believe that coupledom is the ideal, and that it really does need to be celebrated with roses and champagne...
Oops, perhaps my own cynicism showing there...
But that's not to say that we can't acknowledge the date and some of the sentiment behind it. That some of that goodwill and appreciation that we are so encouraged to show a partner should but embraced - but perhaps in a slightly different way.
I want to make valentines day about the self. It's lovely to appreciate the important people in our lives, but I do feel that this day is sometimes celebrated to the exclusion of those who are single or those who do not partake in monogamous hetero-normative relationships. There's no mention of being kind to ourselves.
My intention is to think of this day as a reminder of the high esteem that I would like us all to have for the self, to treat ourselves like our own best friend and show ourselves the kindness and compassion that we would another person whom we loved.
I know also that there is the trend for self-care these days and that encourages us to make sure we regularly take long baths and read books, go for a walk and see friends. And those are excellent ways of making time for ourselves - after all, its really hard to multitask while reading a novel, or sitting in the bath (though many will try!).
But how about this valentine's day all of us - those who are monogamous or non-monogamous, coupled, throupled, quads (or more), and singles alike - take this opportunity to show ourselves the kind of compassion and empathy that we so often reserve only for another. The type of understanding and kindness that could bring about a feeling of well-being and contentment. If we are struggling for inspiration we can think of those who we hold dearest and the ways that we try to show them how much they matter and that they are valuable. The little things that we do to show love.
I think we can all be guilty of neglecting ourselves from time-to-time, particularly when life gets full and our attention is spread thin across multiple projects. When money is tight or work is hard, maybe when children are draining or elderly parents need a lot of care. If you identify as one of these time-poor, energy-depleted people, then this valentine's day is for you. May I encourage you to take yourself home at the end of today to an act or two of kindness to yourself. Maybe getting into bed a little early rather than sending those late-night work emails - or arranging for a babysitter for sometime later in the week so that you know that soon you will be able to focus on yourself. And maybe even a loved one. If you have time...
Let me know how you get on in the comments.
Laura is an online talking therapist and writer specialising in working with millennials and the LGBTQI+ community.