I can remember being in high school seeing girls getting flowers and stuffed animals at school on Valentine’s Day. In college, more of the same. My friends often got gifts and went on dates, but I didn’t.
Sometimes it bothered me, but most Valentine’s Day it didn’t. I was a single mom and often didn’t have a babysitter so going out would be a challenge anyway, but I did think it would be nice to be shown given some attention at least on that day.
Then, after basically all of my life not getting Valentine’s Day gifts, I got the ultimate gift. The one that so many women want. I got a ring. A marriage proposal. And a bunch of other gifts, and I felt loved. Adored even.
Although I wasn’t ready to marry him because had only dated a few months, I did. And ended up divorced.
I hurt for a long time during and after process, but one blessing I got from the pain and the feel of loneliness was that I learned how to TRULY love myself. Because of the circumstances, I questioned everything about myself.
Why wasn’t I good enough?
Why wasn’t I pretty enough? Was I too fat?
Did I not cook enough?
Did I talk too much? Love too hard?
Then I reflected on my life and the fact that I had been single most of it. Only one Valentine’s Day where a man made me feel loved. Although I was smiling on the outside, I was dying on the inside and no one seemed to notice or care…at least not how I felt I needed it.
That’s when I learned how to LOVE MYSELF. Valentine’s Day was sad the first year of my marriage and the few years after my divorce. But that’s it. I went back to seeing it as a time to celebrate those in your life who do love you rather than focusing on what’s missing. And most importantly, it’s a time to check your self-love.
As I began to love myself with all my flaws and shortcomings, I began to clearly see the need for increased self-love in others.
How we feel about ourselves determines ever choice and every outcome in our lives.
Every speech I give, workshop I lead, and in all of my workbooks, self-awareness and self-love are at the core or the first topic mentioned. Through the nonprofit I started, the S.O. What! Foundation, I came up with an idea for a fundraiser around Valentine’s Day to help people stop stressing about the love someone else is or is not giving. The Love Yourself Event started in my home, and three years and three venues later the event has funded our STEP OUT program for challenged youth. And just as important, has helped thousands of people take the time to focus on loving themselves.