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Anu Sharma-Niwa,
M.A., R.Psych.
Registered Psychologist 

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Happy Love Day!


What was once known as the Feast of Saint Valentine is now a globally recognized day of celebrating love.  International food, cosmetic, fashion and entertainment industries have encouraged this amorous sentiment for years in hopes that we buy in to the idea that romance can be purchased via the ideals of the roses, candy, huge house, fancy automobile, outward beauty, and sex.  Many cynically question if this day has become an industry “cash-cow”, while others view it as a day to benchmark your love for your partner, family, friends and the world. 

If you are in a relationship, it is a fantastic day to celebrate your love and appreciation for your partner via expressions of love, romantic rituals and indulgence in flowers and chocolate.  Of course, it is important to be cognizant of your everyday efforts to display respect, courtesy, empathy, kindness, an open mind and to stay emotionally connected to your partner in order to ensure your love is sustainable through the years ahead. These are the little daily compliments, expressions of appreciation and affection and efforts to truly listen to our spouse that really matter. It truly is the little things that matter most for making love last.

If you are single, Valentine’s Day need not be a day of dread or perceived pressure to find a partner.  Regardless of your love “status” on Facebook, Valentine’s Day can be a day of joy and celebration for everyone. It is a day to celebrate love of all kinds, whether it is for family, friends or random acts of kindness for a stranger.  Most importantly, whether single or in a relationship, it is a day to celebrate your love for YOURSELF!!  The wise old saying that you cannot truly love someone else until you love yourself is certainly true.  Your first step on the road to romance is with yourself, to love and accept yourself in the deepest way possible.  

We are often taught by society that our worth is contingent upon external and every-changing factors of the house, car, objects, jewelry, money, power, and appearance of our romantic love.  However, if your self-worth is measured by these dynamic factors, it makes it incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to truly be capable of loving yourself in the deepest way possible because that inner voice will always be doubting yourself or telling you in some form that you are not good enough or deserving of love. 

The latest theory about love from psychological research is referring to what is called “Implicit Egotism”, which is beginning to redefine the way we think about love.  Essentially, Implicit Egotism explains that we are most attracted to others who have qualities and physical features that resemble our own…so the positive associations we have about ourselves enhances our attraction to others like us.  Therefore, passionate love for others really boils down to our love for ourselves…and how we perceive ourselves.  Food for thought! (Or perhaps for today, it will be chocolate for thought!)

Below are some hot-tips for celebrating your love for yourself on Valentine’s Day: 

  1. Stop criticizing yourself and focus and celebrate your positive attributes. Give yourself a break from the barrage of negative, self-defeating self-talk that often leaves you feeling depressed or anxious. 
  2. Pamper yourself with positive self-talk, a massage, mani-pedi or a splurge on a special treat for yourself. You deserve to celebrate yourself today!! 
  3. Smile at others & see what happens! It can be very contagious to see how you light up someone’s eyes by simply smiling at someone else.  Display your love to the world! 
  4. Do something worthwhile with your time that makes you feel worthwhile about yourself.
  5. Find a form of physical exercise that works for you. Exercise is known to be a fantabulous way to make you feel better from a confidence and mood standpoint, largely due to the surge of serotonin and endorphins being released into your system.
  6. If you are single, make a date of joining other single friends or joining groups that allow you to meet new, like-minded friends.
  7. If you are not able to go out (i.e. child-care constraints), create a love nest at home by creating an ambience filled with romance and indulgence (i.e. candles, decorations, flowers, music, etc.).
  8. Doing something nice for someone else (you will often feel rewarded ten-fold) on a day that represents love is a great way to put a deposit into your emotional bank account!
  9. Do something today that you have never done before, such as a dance class or trying out a new recipe for supper to bring some form of adventure and excitement into your day.
  10. Write a Valentine’s Day note to yourself listing 2-3 ways you must show your love to yourself in the next year (as well as highlighting potential obstacles and solutions to these obstacles in order to provide you a GPS system to help you if you get lost in this journey).  This could include taking a vacation to a destination you have always wanted to go to, learning a new sport or activity, taking a course, or scheduling in self-care time into your busy weekly routine.  

Whether you are single or in a relationship, don’t forget to take time out to love and cherish who you are, as well as spreading the love to those you adore.  Today is the day to benchmark the love that you have for yourself and others, while committing to also live your life from a place of love throughout the calendar year. 

Happy Love Day!! 


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