A few years ago, I stopped perpetuating this toxic cycle of hoping for a valentine, and basing my own self-worth off other people’s perceptions of me, and declarations of their desire. Instead, I decided to make valentines day a day filled with self-love and appreciation for my friends. Treating myself to lots of goodies and writing a card for my best friend made me feel surrounded by love, without the need for a partner. Since I began celebrating ‘Galentines’, it has become a much more universally well-known concept, with women celebrating themselves and each other by going on solo dates, wearing lingerie to eat cheese and drink wine, and writing love letters addressed to themselves.
But why should this be a one day only thing? Instead of celebrating ourselves and our friends on one single isolated day a year, maybe we should work on the little things we can do every day to show affection for our friends, and love and acceptance for ourselves.
In lockdown, it is particularly hard to maintain meaningful and loving relationships with friends, especially when most friend groups are scattered across the country attending different unis, with no prospective date of being reunited. Although our age of technology means that you can talk almost face to face with a friend with the tap of a screen, facetime calls can sometimes feel forced, and much more draining than an actual conversation.
But there are other ways to stay connected with friends- good morning and goodnight text messages are such an easy way to show somebody you care; handwritten letters are such a lovely thing to receive in the post; and sharing content you enjoy such as novels, podcasts and series shows someone that you are thinking of them. Treating a loved one to something isn’t only beneficial for them, acts of kindness towards others is also an act of self-care too. So, send that friend some flowers if they’re feeling a little down, text them about that YouTube video that lifted your mood and send them a goodnight text reminding them how wonderful they are.
Alongside the endorphins we receive when we show love for others, we should also actively commit to showing love for ourselves – every day of the year. Showing appreciation for ourselves isn’t just about doing facemasks and taking bubble baths, it also involves setting boundaries and knowing how we deserve to be treated. Self-love isn’t always easy, and can involve difficult decisions regarding toxic people in our lives, but letting go of people that cause you more harm than good is such a simple road to happiness.
Going forward from Valentines this year, I am bolstering myself by reminding myself everyday of the way I deserve to be treated, and refusing the people-pleasing urge inside that lets people walk all over me. So, here’s to you, to me, to my friends and to yours. Let’s make this year one filled with love and self-respect: despite the difficult circumstances we can still foster our own bubbles of love. You get to shape your own life; why not fill it with things that make you happy?
Feature Image: Pixabay @DanniePhoto