I’m My Own Valentine and That’s Okay
With Valentine’s day around the corner many people have mixed feelings about this day. Usually it boils down to whether you’re in a relationship or not. It can be really hard to see everyone around you paired up while you’re stuck feeling like you’ll never find that special someone or that you’ll always be alone or it can be a trigger if you have history of domestic violence or abuse trauma. This can lead to feelings of resentment and bitterness. However, valentine’s day isn’t all about being in a relationship with a significant other but more so it’s about love in general. It’s about the love we share with our friends and family and the love we should be giving to ourselves.
There are many stories regarding the origin of Valentine’s Day dating back to centuries and centuries ago and it is now celebrated worldwide in numerous different ways. We know Valentine’s day as getting chocolates, fancy dinners, flowers and cards we get from friends in school. No matter how it’s celebrated, the common denominator is love and how we show that love, whether it be gifting chocolates, telling someone you love them, giving a hug, doing something nice for someone, or spending quality time. In the mist of grocery aisles filled with roses, bears, and heart shaped candies and glorious portrayals of “perfect” couples on social media, we lose the significance and meaning behind love. We forget that you don’t have to be in the “perfect” relationship or marriage to experience love and feel loved and give love. You can be single and still experience love.
Dr. Chapman is the well-known author of The 5 Love Languages along with numerous other books focused on helping relationships grow with mutual understanding. It started out with research on couples, however, it has expanded into business, mother-child relationships, military families, and our relationship with ourselves. Love isn’t just reserved for romance. The basic premise behind the love languages is that they are ways of building awareness and understanding of yourself so that you can grow closer with the ones you care about, gain courage to express yourself and be open to vulnerability. It all starts with self-love.
Self-compassion is tied hand in hand with self-love, however, I’m going to show you how you can utilize the 5 love languages to be your own valentine. There are free quizzes online by Dr. Chapman that allow you to discover what your love language is. Here’s what they are but we’re going to focus on how you can use them to increase self-love in order to portray more love into the world.
Acts of Service
• Acts of services is about the things you do for others or for yourself. Actions speak louder than words for some people. Therefore, if your love language is acts of service, try treating yourself to a nice spa day, cook yourself your favorite meal, engage in a project that you feel is fulfilling. Whatever you do, make sure it is meaningful for you.
• Gift giving is just what it sounds like. This love language is about gifts and gestures that show you are loved and cared for. Thoughtfulness and effort is the key behind gift giving. The best gifts are the ones that are the most meaningful versus the ones that are the most expensive. If your love language is gift giving, try buying yourself your favorite flowers or your favorite chocolate instead of waiting for someone to do it for you. One of my favorite quotes by Veronica Shoffstall says “plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.” You can write a poem to yourself, create your own mix tape, or write your own love story.
• Quality time is about spending time together while being fully present in the moment, hearing each other out, paying attention, and enjoying each other’s company without being preoccupied by thoughts of things you need to do the next day or what happened earlier that day. It’s all about the here and now…the present moment. If your love language is quality time, one of the best ways you can practice this for yourself is through mindfulness. Try doing a self-compassion meditation, yoga, spending time in nature with yourself, breathing exercises, or getting lost in your favorite hobby.
Words of Affirmation
• Words of affirmation is about expressing your love in sincere and genuine words. However, it’s important to say what you mean and mean what you say. It’s about showing appreciation, encouragement, gratitude, and admiration. If your love language is words of affirmation, try reciting self-affirmations such as “I am enough, I am worthy, I am not perfect and that’s okay, I deserve to be happy, I love and accept myself as I am.” This can be hard to do because we tend to be our own worst critics, however, find a self-affirmation that you believe in and practice it daily. You may just notice your self-esteem increasing and feeling more loved.
• Physical touch is about the physical presence and human touch. Typically, this looks like hugs, pats on the back, holding hands and just being near others. If your love language is physical touch you can try giving yourself a hug. This may sound and look weird at first but when you give yourself that gentle squeeze, it may help you feel secure in times of anxiety or sadness. It’s reminder that you have yourself to rely on. It’s just another way to show love to yourself. Giving yourself a hug is another form of self-compassion.
Now that you are familiar with the 5 love languages, it’s time to find out what yours is. Each one is important and significant in their own way but many people tend to have 1 or 2 that are more meaningful to them in comparison to the others. Another thought to challenge is that none of this is in any way pathetic. Self-love is an important step toward giving love out into the world.
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
If you are finding yourself struggling with self-love due to trauma in a past relationship, low self-esteem, depression, or anxiety and need some assistance in cultivating self-compassion, please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced Orlando mental health counselors.