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This Valentine’s Day Learn to Love Yourself

By Debbie Mandel

Valentine’s Day is almost here and many of us are highly stressed by this compulsory, scripted celebration of love. The script is quite daunting. If we don’t have a significant other, we are in a mad rush to find one for the occasion, like falling in love in record time. If we do have a significant other, we are dropping hints all over the place for a gift to brag to our friends. “Look what he bought me! He values me.”

On the one hand, you subtly or not so subtly demand a gift – flowers, chocolates, theatre tickets, lingerie or jewelry. When he gives you the gift, you know the rules; you will reciprocate with intimacy, your gift to him. If he forgets or doesn’t get you anything special, except for what he has on hand, like his office pens, then he will be sleeping on the couch. You will reason, “Obviously, he does not value me.” The message for him is learn the rules: Tit for tat, you give, I give, then you give and I give. Is this what you really want? Payment for services rendered? Does a gift paid as a ransom demonstrate love?

The basic problem lies with a faulty premise. Valentine’s Day is not about him and the gifts he buys for you. The holiday is really all about you! What gifts do you give yourself? Quiet time, relaxation and creativity? Many of you fall in love with the false and therefore disappointing expectation, that you will find your personal significance in a significant other. However, your significant other is your deeper, truer identity. Don’t get distracted. You are the love object – not him.

If you
  • Don’t like yourself
  • Feel unattractive
  • Feel unhappy
  • Feel depleted
  • Feel like you have no goals or direction,
no mysterious, ideal lover will rescue you from yourself and hold up a mirror for you to see a magical transformation. No gift will restore your vitality and happiness. Here’s what will: This Valentine’s Day start the journey inward to rediscover the hidden girl. You know the part of you that has forgotten how to laugh, have fun, play and not give a hoot as to what anyone else thinks. Now, I’m not telling you to release your inner child because you are no longer a child. You are a woman. What I’m urging you to do is to release the spirit of childhood to have great adventures within the context of your life, where you are today.

Nothing is as powerful as your imagination. It shapes your realities and can be more real than reality. Use your imagination to liberate yourself from unrealistic expectations and idealized versions that distort the female form and constrain your consciousness. Challenge your traditional way of thinking to liberate your self-love – this is not being selfish, rather it’s a sign of personal growth and transformation.

If you are in a relationship, keep cultivating your separate, distinct self because it is incredibly exciting and sexy! We are all single, even if we are married or living with someone. Embrace your uniqueness and if you don’t know what makes you unique, this is the perfect holiday to find out.
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout and Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: