Romancing the Self

2 min read

photo: MetArt

Self Love is Self Care on V-Day and Beyond

Ah, Valentine’s Day. It’s that magical time of year again — romance is blossoming in the aisles of every grocery store strung with heart-shaped balloons. The air is sweetened with the faint scent of chocolate and refrigerated out-of-season roses; and as marketing would have it, that is sure to be a turn-on to all who may notice, and will somehow lead us to the unbridled and unreal lovemaking that we all desire.

Pink paper hearts and factory-grown florals are admittedly lovely, but the saccharine nature of this romantic holiday can often leave a sour taste in one’s mouth. Whether partnered or not, unmet expectations of Valentine’s Day might have you feeling blue. There’s no need to shun the festivities altogether, though — consider this a midwinter reminder to treat yourself to a little love, instead.

Between our family and friends, our work lives, and our love lives, much of our day to day energy is spent caring for the needs of others. In exchange for our efforts, we expect some form of reciprocation. In our personal lives, those expectations can intensify during holidays, and Valentines Day is a prime opportunity for even the most loving of partners to miss the mark. The misalignment of expectations and reality can lead to feelings of bitterness and hurt — after all, we all deserve nice things — but it stands to reason that those blows would be lessened if we treated ourselves better, overall.

There’s an idiom that suggests that you must love yourself before loving others (or, as some would have it, being loved) and while I have serious doubts as to its merit as relationship advice, I do feel that there is truth behind the idea that you cannot pour from an empty vessel, and that same logic can be applied to sex and romance. It stands to reason that if you are acknowledging and meeting your own needs, you have more emotional resources to care for others. Furthermore, it means that you are familiar with your own needs and how you like them addressed. This leaves you better equipped to communicate your needs and boundaries to others, which can allow you to form better relationships with your lovers. This is not just standard self-care (which so often involves eating healthy and addressing responsibilities); this is about self-romance.

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to start putting self-romance into practice. Instead of feeling left out of the roses-and-red-wine rigamarole, why not participate in your own way and start treating yourself the way you want to be treated? Buy yourself some chocolate and flowers (or wait until Saturday, when they are on sale) and light a few candles for some good, old-fashioned lovemaking on your own. Make sure to fully indulge yourself — enjoy a dinner of your favorite foods and give yourself a treat for the senses. To get in the mood, skip the guilt and allow yourself to read a romance novel or enjoy an erotic film (may we suggest for explicit movies that focus on female pleasure, such as “Love Is Around Us”).

Regardless of what decadent treats you allow yourself, there’s no time like the present to start treating yourself to the life you deserve. You’ll surely find yourself more satisfied with your life with a little practice in giving yourself what you want, instead of waiting for it to be delivered by others.

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