By Lauren Bird
When you think of Valentine’s Day, you instantly imagine cartoon cupids shooting arrows of hearts at loved-up couples, but this year, the pandemic has ultimately re-defined Valentine’s Day. Following a year of loss and uncertainty, it’s more important than ever to show kindness and love to the people around us, starting with ourselves. Lord knows we need it!
Have you ever heard an air hostess say, “Put your oxygen mask on before assisting others”? That’s because number one; your air hostess knows best and number two; because emotionally and physically, to take care of others, you must take care of yourself first. So, what does self-love mean? It’s understanding your worth and taking care of your own happiness and wellbeing instead of sacrificing it for others. Self-love is not a rite of passage to be selfish, but rather a purposeful practice to help benefit aspects of our lives; from how we cope with stress to how we make judgments.
Start by allowing yourself to rest. We are so distracted by the hustle and bustle of life; we never allow ourselves the time to stop and think, ‘what do I want from life? What does my body need?’ This doesn’t mean you have to know what you want out of life, not knowing is perfectly normal. It means putting your worth forward by listening to your emotional and physical needs. So, mark the celebration of love by meditating, journaling or simply having a relaxing bubble bath. If putting on your comfiest PJ’s to watch Netflix for hours on end means taking time for yourself, do exactly that.
Regardless of being in a relationship, we all need space to indulge in the hobbies that bring us joy; whether that’s enthusiastically singing into a rolled-up magazine like you’re starring in Bridget Jones or playing Cards Against Humanity with friends over Zoom. Being stuck in lockdown gives us the perfect opportunity to think about our passions and how we can set a goal towards achieving them. For some, Valentine’s Day can hinder our identity, but engaging in activities that makes you happy will naturally boost self-confidence and help to re-discover your sense of self.
I’m a firm believer that confidence comes from within but getting dressed up is an additional building block towards appreciating yourself. Have you ever felt low but became significantly more confident after putting on your favourite clothes? That’s because clothes are a part of our identity, a way to express our individuality and boost our self-esteem. Fashion Psychologists say the clothes we choose, really does play a role in affecting our mood and attitudes. Wearing formal clothes may make us feel more authoritative, while colourful clothing may optimise our ability to be more open and expressive. So, empower yourself this Valentine’s and look good doing it!
Inner confidence starts with owning your imperfections and acknowledging the amazing being that you are. Just like being on a date, asking yourself questions will help you fall in love with yourself all over again and reclaim your self-worth. Start by identifying your strengths and why they’re important; no-one said this couldn’t be done over a three course meal with bubbles. Granted, this is hard to say when your lacking confidence, but we are all perfectly imperfect. Who you think you are and who you really are come as separate entities, so if you’re struggling, ask a loved one what they think your strengths are.
Acknowledging your strengths and recognising your flaws work hand in hand when building confidence because your able to accept who you are and love yourself for it. Comparing yourself to others is a burden we’ve all faced from time to time, but everyone has imperfections and just because you don’t see it posted all over Instagram, doesn’t mean they don’t have any. Being able to accept the flaws that cannot be changed, will naturally liberate yourself from discreditation.
On that note, your self-love journey starts now. Happy Valentine’s Day fabulous readers! We hope this article reminds you to love yourself and others just as much as we love you, xo.