February is officially in full swing, and that means Valentine’s Day is too. On a recent trip to the grocery store, I found myself surrounded with all things red and pink as soon as I entered. From gourmet chocolates to stuffed animals to heart-shaped novelty gifts — you name it and they had it. Walking past the front of the store, I felt a slight pang in my heart when I realized I would — once again — have to spend the holiday alone this year.
Looking back to my thoughts at the store, I realize I was just romanticizing the holiday in the moment. I have always been a bit of a hopeless romantic, and I think it showed as I walked past the store’s Valentine’s Day display. I was a little sad that I would not be receiving or giving the love and affection that seemed to fill the store shelves around me.
Instead of holding onto any sadness about not having a reason to look forward to the holiday, I have decided to recenter my thinking when it comes to Valentine’s Day.
Typically, I would think of Feb. 14 as a day exclusively for couples to celebrate and for consumerism to boom. This year, that will not be the case. I will partake in the holiday by choosing to celebrate myself through self-love.
If the title of this column did not make you cringe, maybe the previous sentence did. I know you might be thinking it sounds cheesy or icky, and I don’t blame you. I will admit that, initially, the idea of self-love sounds a little ridiculous. However, I firmly believe that if you love yourself first, the rest will follow.
So this Valentine’s Day, I am choosing myself. Instead of choosing to romanticize being in a relationship, I am choosing to romanticize my life. What this means is that I am going to treat every day like a movie — after all, I am the main character in my own life!
In order to do this, I am going to start with the little things. Instead of thinking of daily tasks such as brewing coffee or making my bed as mundane, I will find value in them to upgrade my experience. For example, I will relish waking up with the sun and letting the rays dance around me as I make my bed.
Along with noticing the small things and changing my perspective, I want to incorporate more of my favorite things throughout each day. I love to read, but it gets so hard to read for enjoyment during the semester. Thus, I will try to read for 20 minutes in the morning when I first get up instead of scrolling on my phone.
In a further attempt to appreciate the little things, I recently started a gratitude journal, and I think this has already helped me fall in love with myself and my life. Practicing gratitude — for even the smallest things — has opened my eyes to all that I have to be thankful for.
Thinking of my hopeless-romantic self, I want to take myself on dates and treat myself more. You don’t have to be with someone else to get all dressed up and go do something nice — you can do that for yourself! Taking myself out to get coffee or visit a bookstore is also a great opportunity to teach myself to be okay with being alone.
I also think sprinkling in positive, healthy habits is so important in the journey to loving oneself. Whether it’s making sure I drink enough water or that I go outside for a few minutes every day, learning to take care of myself is part of the path to developing self-love.
I want to believe that when you fall in love with yourself, you fall in love with life. Oscar Wilde once said, “To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.” Perhaps all this time, the romance I have been hopelessly dreaming of has been one with myself.
If you are feeling a little lonely this February, I hope you remember that you have yourself. The only person who can make you whole is yourself, and a little self-love goes a long way in doing so.
Zoya Zahid is a Life Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.