“I have an everyday religion that works for me. Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line.” Lucille Ball
It’s that time of year again when for every girl sat at her office desk swooning over a bouquet so large the delivery driver scarcely managed to pick it up, you bet there will be 10 other girls glowering with envy.
What is it about Valentine’s Day that can have women shivering with expectation and men shaking with fear (or vice versa)?
I have friends who totally embrace the romance and celebrate whole heartedly but also know of couples who have such wildly different ideas the day inevitably ends with one, or both parties sulking in a corner. When people can’t communicate honestly regarding their ideals and expectations is it any wonder their needs aren’t met?
I used to be the worst at this. “It’s too commercialised for me; another way of extracting money by mass producing cards and novelty gifts” is what I historically said out loud in the days leading up to the 14th.
In reality though, when it got to the actual day I would virtually be wrestling envelopes out of the mailman’s hands searching for cards. Every time the office door opened I would pray it was a florist with flowers for me.
“You expect me to cook?” I would cry in the evening. “You could have made an effort.”
Yes, I know I was unreasonable but I wanted to feel special. Growing up in a family that never mentioned the L word, I wanted validation that I was lovable through overpriced red roses and heart shaped chocolates. What I didn’t realise was that the love I was actually lacking was self-love and no amount of cuddly bears holding balloons was going to fix that.
The first year I spent Valentine’s Day as a single adult was a revelation to me. I spent half an hour on the phone listening to my friend tell me about the love letter she had received from her boyfriend listing all the things he loved about her. When I came off the phone, fighting back tears I decided to write my own love note; to myself.
I found it painfully hard but ultimately so liberating and it is now something I do every year regardless of my relationship status. I no longer place pressure on anybody (including myself) as I know I am loved (especially by me) and worth loving. These are all signed and dated and really lovely to look back on from time to time.
This is a small excerpt from last year’s letter.
“I love myself even though I am perfectly imperfect. I love myself even though I feel down from time to time, it’s ok to not be ok. I have total trust that I can support my own emotional and financial needs and will always take care of myself. I love the way I always try to be kind to others without sacrificing my own needs.”
Why not give it a go? If you feel really uncomfortable at the thought of doing this then it really is the perfect exercise for you.