February is a month to celebrate our romantic relationships. Most psychologists agree that being loved and being able to love is crucial to our happiness. Sigmund Freud once said, “Love and work…work and love. That’s all there is.”
But for many, finding—or not finding—love causes a great deal of frustration and despair. For those who aren’t happy with their relationship status, February is the perfect time to focus on self-love instead. Self-love means having a positive regard for your own well-being and happiness. When we adopt an attitude of self-love, we have higher levels of self-esteem, are less critical with ourselves, and are able to celebrate our positive qualities and accept our negative ones. Self-love can lead to more fulfilling and healthy intimate relationships.
Whether single, divorced, separated, or happily in a relationship, ensuring a positive relationship with ourselves sets the foundation for other relationships. Throughout February, and especially around Valentine’s Day, don’t forget to celebrate yourself.
- Learn to be compassionate with yourself. Work on eliminating critical and harsh self-talk. Imagine what you would say to a friend in the same situation for positive self-talk.
- Celebrate your favorite characteristics. Too often, we get caught up with thinking about what we don’t like about ourselves. For most of us, recognizing and appreciating our positive qualities takes effort and practice. Set aside time to read this list daily.
- Enjoy time alone. Whether it be taking a walk in the park, going out for a meal, or seeing a movie, learning to enjoy your own company and doing activities you enjoy when you’re alone is crucial for cultivating self-love.
- Curb social media use. Re-visiting an ex’s social media outlets can wreck havoc on our emotions. It can increase anxiety, depression and envy. Taking breaks from social media when feeling sad, low or when mourning the loss of a relationship is a form of self-care.
- Celebrate accomplishments. Celebrating our accomplishments—not matter how big or small—reinforces our acknowledgement and integration of our positive qualities.
- Ask for help when needed. Most of life’s challenges can’t be tackled alone. Allow yourself to seek help from a trusted friend or professional.
- Stay hopeful. If this is your first Valentine’s Day being single after a separation, divorce or break-up, expect to feel sad. Make a plan to be surrounded by supportive friends and family.