*This is a Paid Promotion with Ocean Retail Park to celebrate all things Valentine’s Day.
“If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else? Can I get an Amen?”
As one international superstar drag queen once said (in between death drops and Britney Spears lip syncs). It makes simple sense for anyone who has ever had the misfortune of finding themselves in a toxic relationship with two people who need ‘a lot of work.’ Both clambering to be the most neurotic, jealous and desperate when what they really need is some time to work on themselves. But alas, love doesn’t just pop up when most convenient, or after that 3 week wellbeing retreat in Goa. And sometimes love can feel like the sticky plaster we all need to cover our debilitating self-esteem issues.
I used to crave relationships. About 2 years into my singledom I used to think about being coupled up all the time. On my journey into work, I would imagine what my White Knight would be like. How he’d be handsome, kind and ridiculously wealthy. How we’d go on ridiculous holidays, and I’d do that thing that only happens in trashy chick lit, where you’re so in love you just forget to eat and lose weight and suddenly everyone keeps mentioning how fabulous you look and you buy a lot of designer garb. I felt like a relationship would make me whole, and I wanted it. Until of course after several ghostings and failed dalliances, I realised most of the White Knights who kept sweeping me off my feet were actually just twats in tin foil.
As a long-term single person I am thoroughly against the idea that being single is an opportunity to become a better person. I don’t think your relationship status should define whether you’re a legend or not, and I’ve met enough terrible married people to know that having a wedding doesn’t stop you being THE WORST. But there is much to be said about spending some time falling a little bit in love with yourself rather than Dave from accounts just because he spent the summer growing a beard and a personality. Falling in love with yourself, getting to know who you are and realising you’re pretty great isn’t the worst thing you could do this Valentine’s Day.
So if like me you’re not searching for love this Valentine’s Day, why not try falling a little bit love with yourself. Here’s 5 easy ways you can make V Day a lot less desperate and a lot more loving when you’re on your tod.
Be your own Valentine.
Self Love comes in a variety of ways. And learning to feel confident in yourself isn’t the easiest task when you just need someone to stroke your hair and call you pretty. But whatever it is that gives you a bit more pep in your step whether it’s a slick of red lipstick, a shimmer of highlight or a bath filled with luxurious oils and a millions candles, treat yourself to a little something this Valentine’s day.
The lovely guys at Ocean Retail Park invited me to shop until my heart’s content this week and I treated myself to the thing that always makes me feel like Aphrodite incarnate and that’s a brand new bottle of perfume. I popped into Boots and bought myself a bottle of the new Prada Candy. Perfume is expensive and it’s also a treat and I feel like proper grown up women spraying myself in this warm, spicy caramel scent. And when I have finished all my self loving this week, best case scenario, I leave that scent on someone’s pillow Sunday morning.
Fill your life with people who love you.
I have been a vocal anti-galentine’s stance before but mainly because I hate the idea that women need a ‘special day’ to make themselves feel better if they aren’t getting mediocre sex and a bottle of champers on Valentine’s Day. But there is nothing better than a life filled with love and that love doesn’t have to come from someone you swiped right with last Tuesday. A night with friends, food and enough gin to fill a bath tub will make you feel better than any chocolate body paint will do.
Go with what you need rather than what you want.
I get it. You really want that 6ft barman with the beard and neck tattoo. Don’t we all? But do you need him or is getting him only going to lead to 6 months of heart ache and a Chlamydia screening? By focusing on what you need to love yourself rather than what you want, you may just stop making the same old mistakes, recreate the same old behaviours and stop chipping away at your levels of self-love. Get out of the dick sand Sandra, and build on that self-esteem.
Just say no.
And sometimes yes. Basically, create some boundaries. Learn to say no to the things you don’t want to do, to people who bring you down and diminish your self-love light. Say yes to those that fill you life with love. Say no to working hours of overtime for minimum wage and a high-five and say yes to spending your free time in places that fill you with joy, comfort and replenish you. You’ll have a lot more time to love yourself if you stop trying to please everyone (including your boss) else.
Forgive yourself like you forgive that 21 year old Fuck Boy
I get it, spending days self flagellating yourself over not being healthy enough, not being successful enough, not being married enough can feel like the right way to ‘make yourself better.’ Maybe if you remind yourself what a crummy person you are 20 times a day, it might inspire you to actually apply for that job or get back on the dating apps. We can spend a serious amount of time telling ourselves off for not being where we want to be whilst at the same time we hand out compassion like condoms to Fuck Boys that ghost us every other weekend. We are terrible and being kind to ourselves.
So this Valentine’s Day, spend a little time forgiving yourself for past mistakes, for the mistakes you’re still to make and all the little ways we are human. Choose a thing that you beat yourself up over and spread a little forgiveness onto your own plate. For it’s hard to love someone when you’re constantly angry at them.