Valentine’s Day itself may be over, but the month of festivities is still in full swing. Here’s your reminder that the most important Valentine is you!
Valentine’s Day may have come and gone, but
As a psychologist, I hear all too often about how frustrating this holiday can be. It upholds romantic love as the be-all-end-all destination for happiness, devalues other kinds of love, and the Hallmark additions can make anyone who does not have a romantic partner feel less-than.
But Valentine’s Day, and the month of February in general, do not have to contribute to self-loathing, feeling not good enough, or feeling unloved. It’s all about how we can reframe the holiday in a way that supports us, rather than sucks us dry.
How do we do this? By reminding ourselves that love comes in all shapes and sizes, and that all kinds of love are valuable. In fact, our social relationships are one of the most important factors in our overall state of wellbeing. Having a solid social support system can be hugely beneficial, regardless of whether or not you have a significant other. When we put such hyperfocus on romantic partners, we risk devaluing these most meaningful non-romantic relationships.
But above all else, it is how we love ourselves that matters most. Even if we are surrounded by the most supportive and compassionate social support system and have a wonderful significant other or others, we still must uphold our own sense of self-love and acceptance. It may sound cliche, but you truly are your most important Valentine.
This February, I invite you to celebrate all of the love in your life, and to treat yourself to the same care, adoration, and compassion that you would extend to those you love.
Dr. Alexis Conason