02/12/2013 04:08 pm ET Updated Apr 14, 2013

Become Your Own Valentine!

Celebrating Valentine's Day can be a romantic way to share love with a beloved partner, but what if you don't have a beloved partner? Or, what if you have a partner but your partner is not the romantic type and forgets about Valentine's Day? Or what if you and your partner don't exactly feel beloved to each other right now? Does this mean you have to miss out on the fun of Valentine's Day?


You can become your own valentine!

When I was in elementary school, one of the very fun things we did was make valentines for everyone in class. I used to love writing a little note saying what I liked about each person. It made me feel happy inside to offer every person a bit of love.

Becoming your own valentine means doing this for yourself. Here's how:

  • Go to a store and look for the perfect valentine for you -- for what you value most about yourself.
  • Then look for a small gift for yourself -- something you would really enjoy and that celebrates you.
  • Here is the really important part: When you get home, set aside some time to think about and write about what you most value about yourself. Let go of all the things you might be critical about -- looks, performance, smarts -- and focus only on the true essence of you. Your true essence comprises your enduring qualities -- the qualities you were born with. Are you a kind person? Are you capable of compassion and empathy? Are you creative? What are your inherent gifts and talents? Are you funny and entertaining? Are you quiet and deep? Are you extroverted? Introverted? What is the value of being extroverted or introverted?
  • Take the time to look inside and see what is truly wonderful about you. Imagine that you are a very loving grandparent looking with love at you as the grandchild. If you had you as a grandchild, what would you love about you? What would you see that is unique and special about you?
  • Write all this out to yourself in the card. Wrap the present. Then decide on what you would like to do for your wonderful self on Valentine's Day. Do you want to cook yourself something special, or go somewhere that day or evening that would be fun for you? Do you want to spend time with friends? Do you want to cuddle in with yourself and watch a good movie or read a good book? Do you want to do something creative? Imagine that you are planning the day or evening for someone whom you deeply treasure -- your beloved self.
  • On Valentine's Day, open the gift and read the card out loud to your wonderful self, and then proceed with the day or evening you planned for yourself.

Becoming your own valentine can help you start focusing more and more on what you love and value about yourself, and less on what you don't like about yourself. Many people are extremely judgmental toward themselves, which makes them feel anxious, depressed, shamed and unworthy. You don't have to continue to judge yourself and make yourself miserable. While your ego wounded self might believe that self-judgment motivates you to improve, the opposite is actually true -- self-judgment is debilitating and may be keeping you stuck.

Make this Valentine's Day the beginning of becoming your own valentine -- your own beloved. If you devote yourself to valuing yourself rather than to judging yourself, over time you will find yourself feeling happier and more productive. Even if you are in a good relationship and enjoy celebrating Valentine's Day together, you might also want to celebrate your wonderful self on Valentine's Day -- and every day! The more you love and value yourself, the more you will be able to love and value others, and the happier you will feel.

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a relationship expert, best-selling author, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® self-healing process, recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette, and featured on Oprah. To begin learning how to love and connect with yourself so that you can connect with others, take advantage of our free Inner Bonding eCourse, and receive Free Help.Discover SelfQuest®, a transformational self-healing/conflict resolution computer program. Phone or Skype sessions with Dr. Margaret Paul.

Connect with Margaret on Facebook: Inner Bonding, and Facebook: SelfQuest.

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