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Why Your True Valentine Should Be Yourself

13/02/2017 14:17

As soon as the last Xmas decoration is put away, we are bombarded with red roses and hearts. Everyone jumps on the bandwagon - I even saw a heart shaped pile of doughballs outside Pizza Express - to max on the seasonal love fest.

Pressure ‎builds to select the right amorous experience at great expense. And then there's the perennial discussion about whether every day should be a Valentine's day in a loving relationship.

There is so much emphasis on the other getting it right it can leave you feeling...dissatisfied.

And for those who aren't in a couple it can be a huge blow to your esteem to march through the herds of swooning lovers, balloon and flower deliveries on the way to work.

This Valentine's Day I will be spending the afternoon with young girls in a clinic for eating disorders. They will not be expecting a surprise gesture. They won't even be able to eat a ‎chocolate truffle.

So I thought it would be a nice idea for them to do their own card, to themselves. Drawing or writing something that celebrates who they are.

We expect so much from our partner, often too much and can end up trying to get them to plug the void we haven't ‎filled ourselves.

I remember as a teen hoping, praying for a card. If I didn't get one I was a loser, ugly, unlikeable. Bless my mother for sending me one during those tricky years.

But had I been more robust, resilient, I wouldn't have cared as much. The desire for approval of another was more important than my own.

Others will never make you feel permanently, deeply happy. And if we depend on them for our well-being, then we set ourselves up for a fall. It can even be harmful, creating a co-dependence, where failing to get a text can destroy your day.

No man is an island but it's useful to know how to exist on one.

To wake up and look in the mirror and smile at what you see. To be able to spend a day, in your own company, happy to be by yourself, doing exactly what you want to do. Even to go to dinner alone, with a good book or mag as a companion. To sleep solo, not afraid of the night or what it might herald.

Whether you're in a couple of not this Valentine's Day, declare your neverending love for yourself. Think about what makes you special, write it down, even send yourself a card if you're in the mood. And if you are headed to one of the special evenings at a restaurant, maybe share your affirmations with your beloved. It can be as simple as what three things you like about yourself and your companion.

I've spent many years putting myself down in my head. So none of the above comes easily. I would never talk to my nearest and dearest the way I talk to myself. So many of us do.

But it's bad for us, and it's bad for those around us, as it creates a toxic web that we inevitably get caught up in.

So on the 14th, if that inner monologue, that nagging voice, begins to critique, or mock, tell it to be quiet and replace it with a stream of ‎positives.

Valentine's Day originally comes from the feast of St Valentine who was a healer, and signed off his letters 'Your Valentine'.

Yes let us woo, seduce, spoil this 14th Feb but most of all may you soothe your soul, so that others' love is the icing on the heartshaped cupcake, and not the cake itself.

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