You can celebrate the joys that come with love even without a partner by cultivating a nurturing relationship with yourself.
Love is such an integral part of human existence that there’s an entire day dedicated to celebrating it. With all the smiling couples and romantic posts on social media, those who are single may feel left out. Some may even experience a bitter kind of loneliness, as the holiday only seems to emphasize one kind of love.
Be that as it may, it’s important to note that your relationship with yourself is just as important as any romantic relationship—if not more—and this is a well-known fact in the world of psychology. Self-love is essential to maintaining your mental and emotional well-being, and it’s certainly a kind of love that deserves to be celebrated on Valentine’s Day.
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According to Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein, President of the Brain & Behaviour Research Foundation, “Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self-love means having a high regard for your own well-being and happiness.”
Of course, because different people show love in a variety of ways, Borenstein states that the specifics of “self-love” differs from person to person. In other words, whatever you do to take care of yourself can be considered an expression of self-love.
Boost Your Self-Confidence
“I notice that many people are afraid of being alone,” said Caroline Müller—a certified online psychologist—in her interview with Insider. “And if you think about it, it’s a weird fear, you know…I think if you are alone, if you are single, it is a good opportunity to get to know yourself and learn to love yourself more,” she continues.
Müller posited that self-love can greatly fortify a person’s confidence and emotional stability. By treating yourself with compassion, you give yourself internal validation that can’t be taken away easily.
Conversely, if you entirely depend on a partner to shower you with affection, treats, and words of kindness, you may experience some repercussions later on—especially when the relationship ends. Müller shared that a person may continue to seek external validation from other sources due to withdrawal, and in a desperate search for a replacement, they may enter a relationship with someone unsuitable for them. “But this is not because being alone is so bad, it’s because you are dependent on the validation of the person in the first place,” she elaborates.
Love Yourself First
In the same interview with Insider, Müller also discussed the benefit of taking the time to understand oneself before pursuing a relationship. “If you understand yourself first of all, you will be able to understand others much more. You’ll know about your needs and your expectations, and you will understand why certain people act the way they do,” she said.
Hence, being in tune with your needs can not only help you find a suitable partner in the future, but also guide you in fostering happy relationships. This makes sense, as it’s difficult to care for someone when you struggle to care for yourself.
A study by Eric Fields and Gina Kuperberg—Psychology researchers from Tufts University—states that a lack of self-positivity bias (the scientific term for self-love) may contribute to mood and anxiety disorders. This further supports the importance of self-love when it comes to maintaining healthy psychological functions.
Celebrating Yourself on Valentine’s Day
It was once believed that loving oneself was a form of narcissism or selfishness. However, science continues to provide evidence that self-love is both a natural human need and a means for survival. You shouldn’t reserve this kind of love solely for Valentine’s Day, but it’s still an apt occasion to practice it to the fullest. There’s no shortage of fun and rejuvenating activities you can do without a partner.
Book a spa treatment, spend some time with friends, watch a movie (in the theater or at home), and indulge in your favorite food. Write a letter that lists down the qualities you love most about yourself. Remember, no matter what happens, you’ll always have your back—and that’s a constant form of love that can’t be found anywhere else.
Banner Photo by Hassan Ouajbir via Pexels.