Valentine’s Day may be one of the most commercialized holidays, but I cannot deny myself the enjoyment of celebrating a day dedicated to all things love. While Valentine’s Day may seem to favor people in with romantic partners, spreading and receiving love is not exclusive to people in committed relationships. We hold love for so many people in our lives: friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, and partners. Here are some ways to show all kinds of love and appreciation this Valentine’s Day.
I have lost count of the number of times I’ve heard “you must love yourself before you love another.” However, when we forget to show ourselves compassion and appreciation, it is difficult to garner those feeling toward someone else. If the thought of Valentine’s Day makes you want to curl up on your couch for a solo “Bachelor” marathon, reinvest that energy toward a day focused on some self-love. Understanding what we truly love about ourselves helps us share those same great qualities with the people in our lives. Write five things you love about yourself, indulge in some pampering of your choice, and embark on your perfect day, whatever that may be. There’s a quote from The Perks of Being a Wallflower that has stuck with me: “We accept the love we think we deserve.” What better day to reflect on all of your amazing qualities and revel in the love you receive and deserve on a daily basis.
This Valentine’s Day, show your love for others in the way they want to be loved. We know how we feel when someone says “I love you,” gives us a token from their heart, or cooks us a meal as a display of affection. We weigh these experiences differently based on what “love languages” we speak. Understanding the way your partner wants to be loved—and vice versa—helps to convey love intentionally in whatever way it is most appreciated. Here are some ways to show love based on your lover’s desired love language:
- Words of Affirmation: We can be pretty hard on ourselves. People who value words of affirmation simply enjoying hearing how much you care and appreciate them. Write your partner a short love poem or share a list of all the reasons you love them.
- Acts of Service: People who value service understand that actions speak louder than words. While restaurants are overcharging couples on Valentine’s Day, treat your loved one to a home-cooked meal. Or show your hunny some love by lending a helping hand, offering a kind gesture, or planning a fun activity you can enjoy together.
- Receiving Gifts: Buying gifts could mean getting a dozen roses and some chocolates, but a thoughtful present reminds your loved one that you care deeply for them. Find a gift that draws upon a favorite shared memory, or plan a gift that will create a new one!
- Quality Time: These people want your undivided attention, even if it’s for a short while. Plan a date where you leave your cell phones at home and commit to focusing on each other exclusively. Your dedication to the immediate needs, feelings, and mood of your loved one will be well received.
- Physical Touch: Showing someone you love them through the appropriate touches can connect you on both a physical and emotional level. Studies have shown that long hugs lasting around 20 seconds can release enough oxytocin to lower blood pressure and cortisol levels and drive a deeper feeling of belonging. Focus on holding hands, gentle massages, and lots of hugs to engender feelings of happiness.
Love Your Community
After the holidays, many community organizations have difficulty wrangling volunteers who have dedicated time at the end of the year to various activities, such as food drives, toys drives, and holiday charity events. Sometimes the most rewarding gift we can give to ourselves is the gift of giving to others. Showing compassion to a complete stranger or organization through volunteering is like giving the world a big hug. You are sharing those same warm tingly feelings with people in need in the spirit of love.
Cameron Cler is traveler at heart, obsessed with seeing the world and discovering ways to contribute to positive global change. As a registered yoga teacher, she balances her constant travel and work in the startup world by channeling her inner yogi and welcoming peace in chaotic moments. Her passion is cultivating creativity and inspiration while sharing travel stories, yoga classes, wellness tips, and smiles with her friends, family, and students.