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Why Loving Yourself This Valentine's Day is the Most Important Thing

02/11/2015 12:54 am ET | Updated Apr 12, 2015

Whether you're single, "It's complicated," or you're in a relationship, loving yourself really is the most important thing you can do this Valentine's Day -- or any day really.

As someone who has been in her fair share of relationships (don't get me wrong -- I've been single on Valentine's Day, too) I have no reason to be bitter about this pink and red, chocolate-filled love fest, and I'm not.

I've spent Valentine's Day in a long-term relationship, gathered around a Hibachi table -- even though my boyfriend at the time knew I was terrified of fire -- or sitting in a movie theatre, as I conformed to the cliché and saw the Valentine's Day movie with my boyfriend at the time. I've spent the day gushing over young love, and I've spent the day awkwardly saying yes to someone who decided to ask me to prom by coming to my house at 6 a.m. and waking me up with pancakes. And as if that wasn't enough, on Valentine's Day the subsequent year, I was asked to prom by a guy who donned "PROM?" in Sharpie on his stomach.

Now, as a college senior, I look back on these Valentine's Days lovingly, smiling at the moments, whether they were filled with love or filled with awkward embarrassment. I loved every moment... I even loved having my stepdad rush into my room like the paparazzi at 6 a.m., doing his best to photograph my embarrassment as the pancakes were delivered to my bed. It's easy to lovingly look back on the pancakes, the Sharpies, the flowers, and the teddy bears, but even more so, it's easy to look back on these days and moments with laughter. I know you may be thinking that all of this sounds great and wonderful, but here's the curveball... the best Valentine's Day I've ever had was the one where I focused on loving myself.

Sure, the days that were filled with love from others were fun, cheesy of course, and comical to say the least, but my best Valentine's Day was spent riding a camel, eating couscous, and loving myself. Yes, you read that right. Last Valentine's Day, I found myself on a beach in Morocco, riding a camel, exploring Moroccan food and culture, and feeling more independent than ever before.

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While the roses, the chocolates, the teddy bears, and the love is nice, when it comes down to it, loving yourself is a gift unlike any other. And that's not to say that you can't spend your Valentine's Day loving yourself while you're in a relationship. It's doable no matter what your relationship status is, really. It's so easy to focus on giving to others on Valentine's Day, and while that can be great, we have to realize how important it is to give to ourselves, too. After all, who knows who we'll be with next Valentine's Day or the one after? You may find yourself riding a camel in Northern Africa, too. Well, probably not, but we never know what our lives have in store for us.

Let loving yourself remain a constant in your own life, and use this Saturday to implement that and start the path of self-love. Even if you have a hot date night, make just as much time for yourself as you're willing to make for your significant other. If it's your style, break out your journal and some candles and just let yourself relax and write. Take a bubble bath, or treat yourself to an at-home spa day. Indulge in that massage you've been craving or eat at that new restaurant you've been eyeing for weeks. You deserve it, and you deserve love.