Though Valentine’s Day itself has some pretty dark roots, February 14th has become a time each year for coupled-up love birds and single Galentines alike to celebrate their favorite four letter word: Love.

We each have our own connotation for love that’s dependent on the situation whether romantic (devotion), familial (appreciation) or for our besties (affection), but what do we call to mind when think about loving ourselves?

Do you have an affection for yourself? Do you appreciate yourself? Are you devoted to yourself?

If not - it’s time to turn up the heat in the relationship that you’ll have until the end of the time: the one with yourself.

Here are 3 ways to practice self-love this Valentine’s Day and everyday.

1. Accept the you that you are today.

We often feel like we need to choose between bettering ourselves and accepting ourselves.

Nope.

Not only can you accept yourself while striving to improve and thrive in your work and personal environments - it may be impossible to grow without a healthy sense of appreciation of where you are right now.

Research around self-compassion shows that a healthy sense of acceptance is one of the number one motivators to help us accomplish our goals. Think about it. If you’re beating yourself up already before even jumping into the things you want to work on, you’re not going to be too kind to yourself as you stumble along the way - and are likely to give up on your goals altogether.

Your weight. Your hair. Your personality. Your laugh. Your kindness. Your dance moves. All of these things make up the you that you are right now. Own them. Fall in love with every piece of what makes you, you and learn to build on the beauty that already exists.

2. Set Boundaries

“Can I steal ya for a sec?”

“Sure.”

If you find yourself saying this more times than you can count within a day, we need to talk. One of the most courageous acts of radical self-love is valuing your time, energy and how much of yourself you are giving to others.

Show yourself you care by setting boundaries that prioritize your own wellness. This does not mean that you can't still be kind, giving you. In fact, by adding parameters to your time and energy, you’re more likely to be more valuable to those that you want to support.

Set your own limits & clearly articulate them. It takes courage, but is also liberating & earns you new respect.

If your sures are piling up, get comfortable with firm no statements like, “let’s set up time to chat later, now’s not a good time” or “you know what? Tonight I just need some QT by myself on the couch. I’m going to hold on dinner out.”

In the words of Rosalind Brewer “set your own limits & clearly articulate them. It takes courage, but is also liberating & earns you new respect."

3. Laugh With Yourself

We all know the old passive-aggressive saying “oh no, I’m not laughing at you - I’m laughing with you.” Mmhmm.

The good news is that this concept can be useful when it’s 1) true and 2) leveraged to deepen your self-love. The ability to have a sense of humor about our actions, our mistakes, our quirks is another form of expressing self-acceptance.

Try laughing with yourself about something that typically makes you feel inadequate. Next time you feel like a hot mess or unorganized, laugh at the idea that anyone realistically ‘has it all together’ (LOL). Feel like your body isn’t changing at the same pace of that motivational #fitspo account you follow on Instagram? Channel your inner-Beyonce and smile in appreciation of your curves.

Fall in love with every piece of what makes you.

Instead of being self-deprecating, find a way to shrug off negative feelings with a smile and reflection of how you actually are pretty great.

Need more ideas for today?

We asked the Shine Squad (more on that here!) and here’s how they told us they’re practicing self-love this V-Day:

  • I'm having Galentines w my girlfriends. We are making an Italian feast watching Cinderella and hanging out in our pjs all night while telling each other how awesome we are! - Katie F.

  • Bought my hubby (and myself) access to Hans Zimmer's musical masterclass because we're trying to get back into playing piano. - Jenna B.

  • I'm going to Hooters with friends because if you bring a photo of your ex, they shred it for you and give you 10 free wings and if getting yourself 10 free wings doesn't say self-love, then idk. - Diane Z.

  • Going to the gym to boost my endorphins and to feel strong! I also sent Valentine's Day cards to all of my gal pals expressing why I love having them in my tribe:) - Morgan S.

  • Working from home! What better way to [work on my presence and joy] than to create some space for focus during my favorite time of the day? I'm hoping it will be productive, but most important, that it will lead to some more intentionality this week. - Lisa R.

  • Treating myself [with a] coffee, pedicure and blowout. - Keri D.

  • I made rum cake. Just for me! (and will go to gym in morning. It's all about balance). - Brooke D.

  • Getting 35 of my most fantastic and ferocious friends together for Galentines! Nothing says love like celebrating best-friendship. - Emily S.

self-love, galentines, affection, gratitude
Author: Marah Lidey

Marah is the cofounder of Shine.