6 Ways to Give Yourself Some Love This Valentine's Day

Either you have date plans for this Saturday or you plan to spend the holiday solo. If it's the latter, don't worry; regardless of your relationship status, everyone deserves some TLC this weekend. In reality, receiving love on Valentine's Day doesn’t require the presence of romance. It's as simple as targeting your affection towards you, the one who deserves love the most.

Self-love is crucial for Black women. We live under the oppressive system of sexism and racism that work in conjunction to devalue our existence. Constantly in conflict with a society that tells us we are unworthy of love, it's sometimes difficult to pick ourselves up and honor our internal beauty and strength.

To reclaim self-love, be your own Valentine and treat yourself to a self-love date, a day devoted to activities that reinforce care for your overall wellbeing. The way in which we choose to show personal love can vary but here are a few ideas for starters:
1. Catch Up on Old Hobbies: Since this is a day of self-love, enjoy the activities that you love the most. Catch up on favorite hobbies you’ve been too busy to enjoy recently. If you’re an avid reader and there’s a novel you’ve been meaning to check out, take it to a park and show yourself some love by having a day of peaceful reading.

2. Find New Hobbies: Likewise, your self-love date can include an adventurous search for new hobbies. If you've never tried Yoga, take out a mat and learn some moves for relaxation. If you've never created an artistic masterpiece, buy some art supplies, set up a makeshift art studio, and see how creative you can be with paint and a blank canvas. The opportunities for this option are endless and some of the best new experiences are the ones we have the courage to try alone.

3. Enjoy a Dinner Date at Home: Restaurants will be packed with couples this weekend. To make your day more intimate, order or cook your favorite meal at home. Turn your phone on silent, throw in a movie or your favorite album and enjoy some uninterrupted me-time. It’s fun proof that being alone doesn’t always mean you’re lonely. *cue India Arie’s “Private Party”*

4. Explore a New Town: A change in scenery can free you from the drag of daily routine. If there’s a nearby town or city you’ve never visited, take a day trip there. Explore the shopping centers, movie theaters, and everything that new place has to offer. See it as an opportunity to find a place you can frequent for small personal getaways in the future.

5. Show Love to Others: Sometimes the best way to bring love into our lives is to recognize and spend time with those who love us unconditionally. If there’s a family member or great friend that you haven’t seen in a while or haven’t recently expressed your appreciation for, take them on a love date this Saturday. This is a great opportunity to acknowledge the sources of love in your life that exist outside of romantic relationships.

6. Self-Reflect: No matter what you choose to do on Valentine's Day, include a period of self-reflection. Whether that means naming out loud the qualities you admire in yourself or making a list of recent accomplishments that have made you proud, give yourself some direct self-appreciation on this day, a perfect reminder that you’re deserving of love 365 days of the year.

No matter how you decide to celebrate self-love, know that the very act is revolutionary. Unfortunately, love is restrictively defined as a bond between two or more people. With this limited understanding, we are expected to direct love to others more than ourselves.

This problematic definition negatively impacts Black women who serve as emotional support systems for their communities. Whether as mothers, teachers, or in any role of service, we often give love selflessly and openly to those close to us. In the midst of caregiving, we may forget to show love to ourselves. Without self-love, it becomes difficult for us to continuously show love to others.

This need for self-love extends to romantic relationships as well. There's a pressure placed on Black women to foster sustained love with Black men in order to form ideal black partnerships and carry on strong black familial legacies. Just as self-love is necessary for caregiving, it is the first step towards finding meaningful romantic love in relationships with others.

In all ways, self-love is the key to finding a sense of lifelong fulfillment and happiness as an individual. If you haven’t taken the time to cater to your wellbeing, Valentine’s Day is the perfect way to start.

Photo: Shutterstock

Courtney Taylor is a senior English-Creative Writing major at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, GA. She is an editorial intern at For Harriet. Follow her on Twitter @thecourtcase or reach her by email: Courtney@forharriet.com

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