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Embracing Valentine's Day

Love is the answer

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Embracing Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day usually sends singles running for the hills. But rather than drowning your sorrows, try some self-love.

Valentine’s Day usually sends singles running for the hills or hiding under the bedcovers. But rather than drowning your sorrows in soy ice cream, try seeing your singledom as a chance to renew your love for the most important person in your life—you.

All together now

According to Statistics Canada, there were 6.3 million single females and 7.3 million single males in Canada as of July 1, 2006, so you are definitely not alone. Get together with some of those single friends and celebrate the great relationships that you already have.

Valentines Friends

Here are some fun ideas for sharing this special day with those special people:

  • Enjoy a movie night out or at home with your best pals.
  • Treat yourselves to a spa at home with homemade or organic beauty products; light some beeswax candles and relax.
  • Go out to a singles-only party or event and enjoy getting to know some new people.

Me, myself, and I

If you decide not to hang out with friends or family, enjoying your own company can be one of the most loving things you can do this Valentine’s Day. Dorothy Ratusny, a Toronto psychotherapist and author of the book, The Purpose of Love: A Guidebook for Defining and Cultivating Your Most Significant Relationship (Insomniac Press, 2007), agrees.

“Being single is actually the time when one can do the most work on self,” she says. “Loving one’s self begins with building healthy self-esteem and self-worth. Being single is an opportunity to learn about who you really are, independent of a relationship, and to foster self-esteem and confidence by learning about yourself, developing self-efficacy, and growing as a person.”

All you need is love

If you are yearning for romance, the best place to start looking is in the mirror. You can’t love someone else if you don’t love yourself first. “Knowing yourself is fundamental to having a great relationship,” says Ratusny.

“Knowing yourself means you are more likely to know what makes you happy and to be self-sufficient in that, rather than expecting someone to make you happy … You are likely to know exactly what you want in a love relationship and are not willing to settle for less.”

Whether you are single or not, Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be something you dread. It can be the start of something wonderful. As Oscar Wilde said, “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”

Ratusny’s tips for developing self-love

  • Pay attention to what you need in any given moment, and respond to those needs accordingly. Take action to learn what your needs are by practising self-awareness.
  • Speak up to express your needs. Honour what you believe to be right and best for you, even though it may be different from that of your mate (or others).
  • Make time each day to do things that nurture your soul. Take a walk at lunch so that you can enjoy the outdoors as you create some time for yourself. Go to the gym, listen to the kind of music that you most enjoy, rebuild the engine in your car, enjoy a long hot bath, or get a massage.
  • Take care of yourself first by attending to your fundamental needs, such as self-care, exercise, proper sleep, and healthy eating.
  • Say no (without guilt or angst) as a way of honouring what is right for you. Those who truly care about you and respect you will honour your answer.

Getting to know you

Here are some things you can do on your own that can help you to learn more about yourself and develop your self-confidence:

  • Do something you love, such as watching a foreign film, taking a class, or learning a new language.
  • Explore your creative side by making Valentine’s Day cards to send to the people you care about the most.
  • Volunteer—giving to others is one of the best ways to fill your own heart. Spend some time with those who are less fortunate—bring roses to your local seniors’ home, or give blood.
  • Adopt a pet. Animals are experts at unconditional love.
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