I’ve always hated Valentine’s Day for as long I can remember – for all the same reasons most other’s don’t like it. The marketing side of it all is messed up and I wonder why you need a certain defined day to express the love you have for your significant other. Not to mention, if you’re single when Valentine’s Day comes around, there always seems to be an expectation that you make ‘forever alone’ jokes about yourself or are extremely publicly proud that you’re alone and you “don’t need anyone”. I just get a bit annoyed at the whole thing, really. However, over the last year or so I’ve really gotten into the power of self love, and how important it really is. This has gotten me thinking and I now want to approach Valentine’s Day as a day of self love and reflection, and I’ll tell you why.
YOU’RE ALL YOU’VE GOT
A lot has happened in my personal life over the last twelve months, with intense changes happening in my life currently that I may talk about on here one day – but not right now. Among all of these changes however, I’m alone. I haven’t been alone with myself as a person since I was sixteen years old, that was six years ago. I can safely say that sixteen year old Ebony was a totally different person to the woman sitting here typing this right now. Young me was a girl who was terrified of speaking to anyone she didn’t know, would say no to everything, and could not speak publicly to save her arse. Current me still has some elements of young me – I’m still cautious about new things and experiences, but I’m also a really fucking good public speaker, I’m someone who isn’t afraid to stand up for what is right, and I’ve now got a Bachelors degree. So the thought of myself being alone now for the first time in six years is pretty terrifying, I don’t know what I’m like as an alone woman, an alone human.
These changes happening in my life are forcing me to listen to myself, to my instincts, and to what I want as an adult. Over the last few weeks I’ve realised that I tend to love myself most when I’m alone, when I’ve been alone I’ve found myself saying yes to spontaneous outings, dancing in my PJ’s to ABBA, and feeling overall much more self-motivated. It’s led me to rethink the dreaded holiday that is ‘Valentine’s Day’ into something a bit more meaningful.
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE
I LOVE love – I always have. I was raised in a Christian household where to be loved and to love was a life goal of many. As a child I’d watch people in the church get married to their childhood sweetheart and move forward into their happily ever after. I had a dream to find the love of my life when I was a teen, save myself until marriage and then grow old with my first love. As I grew older and drifted from religion, I realised my childhood ideology of love did not exist, at least not for me.
Since becoming an adult who identifies as agnostic, I’ve had a lot of reflection time on what love means for me without religion and self love as a concept has almost become my new religion. I try my hardest to surround myself with people who love me and know what it is to love themselves, after all positive vibes can only lead to more positivity. All this talk of self love eventually connected itself to the holiday that is ‘Valentine’s Day’. February 14th was allocated as the day to express love, and I thought – if this stupid day of love has to exist, why not make it a day of self love – because you’re the only self you’ve got. So, without further hesitation, here are some of my favourite ways to ‘treat yo’ self’, in ways that will make me feel full of love.
SELF LOVE DAY
one. step away from social media
This is something I personally find very hard. I’m constantly scrolling and obsessing over other people’s lives which I really don’t even care about all that much. This self love day I want to step away from the constant intake and spend some time with my immediate surroundings. I will treasure my home, my garden, my belongings and myself.
Nothing like a bit of music to get you in the mood…. for some self love. I recommend making a Spotify playlist of all the feel good, sensual and down right sexy songs to groove to all day long. As mentioned earlier, I’m finding dancing alone in your underwear super therapeutic.
three. pamper yourself
This one’s a bit more generic, but why not make a pamper sesh out of it, after all – YOU deserve it. Run a bath, do a face mask, spend some time looking after the skin you’re in and just slowing down for a moment. Whenever I spend an evening properly pampering myself I start to appreciate and acknowledge little (or big) parts of my body that make up me – and take some time to look after all those parts.
four. a little treat never hurt anyone
If couples can give each other chocolates, why can’t you give yourself some!? Seriously though, while it doesn’t have to be food related, why not treat yourself to something extra special. Yes, I find allocating a day to love kind of stupid, some time to look after yourself can really help get some mega self motivation going.
five. give some love
And finally, give some love to those that make you better. This doesn’t have to be a partner, but it could be family, friends – or in my case, my dog. You don’t need to verbally or publicly give an affirmation of your love, but perhaps just reflect on which people in your life bring you more love, and what it means for them to be part of your life.
Much Love, Ebony xo
**all photographs in this post were taken and edited by myself**