Written by Heather Catuiza
We are well into the new year and we all know what to expect after the hectic holiday season – back to normal hours of work and school, and another hope for this year’s winter to be over quick. But what still always shocks me is the smattering of pink and red sale signs and advertisements to help us prepare for the most “romantic time of the year” that almost magically appear overnight as soon as January 2nd hits.
We generally associate Valentine’s Day with courtship, professions of affection and passion, and (sometimes too many!) gifts for others. Whether they be in the form of messages, meals, gestures, flowers, baked goods and/or valentines for the office or classroom, what began as a holiday that celebrated our valued relationships became one that can burn us out just as much as a passionate fling with that exchange student during your first year at university (so I hear…).
So – when’s the last time you looked in the mirror and said, “I love you” to your reflection? Yes, it might sound cheesy and slightly strange, but can you even recall the last time you professed love to yourself? I’d like to think that when we feel accomplished and happy about something, we cheer and give ourselves a mental high five, but why is it that our self-validation doesn’t bear the same weight as validation from someone else? Why does love and the act of caring have to come from an outside source, as if to justify our own worthiness or awesomeness?
And here is the ultimate mic drop – why do we work so hard to cultivate and improve relationships with others when barely bringing that same attention to ourselves? The relationship we have with ourselves is the longest and most important one we’ll ever have, so self-love should be a priority too.
What does self-love look like? There’s no specific answer for that, it’s all dependent on you. Individuals have their own way to decompress and relax, to save some energy for themselves and put it towards something that’s truly revitalizing. Maybe it’s hanging out on the couch to watch movies, taking a yoga class, saying thank you to a compliment (without feeling self-deprecation or shame), listening to music, finally organizing your pantry so everything is labelled that way you like it – everyone has a form of self-care that is an expression of appreciation for themselves. And we should be doing it more, balancing it with all that love we have for others.
Oma’s annual Love Yourself Event takes place this Friday, February 15th and is a wonderful opportunity to get in touch with your own self-care, in an environment with friendly and like-minded people. All the proceeds from ticket sales go to Nellie’s Shelter, and is a perfect example of practicing love and support for yourself with a bonus of extending that positive energy to another.
What are your favourite ways to profess love to yourself? Mine comes in the form of a good glass of red wine, a comedy podcast, and cooking my Dad’s chicken adobo recipe. Other days, I try to have the morning to myself, brew a cup of coffee, and curl up with a thick blanket on my couch to catch up on some reading. I believe the key to self-love and really embracing self-care is to go with your needs in the moment – it doesn’t have to be strictly about physical health, but mental, emotional, and spiritual as well. Yes, it’s easier said than done, but tiny steps towards these practices are just like those little courtship dances we do to woo each other: all good intentions that will lead to a relationship that will be happy and fulfilling. So go on, start loving yourself more!