Self-love is for every day

With Valentine’s Day past, lots of people will give themselves a pass on thinking about love for the next few months.

Congratulations, you gave your girl a flower and some chocolate, bought her dinner, and ended the evening with satisfactory sex. You’ve bought yourself two months of getting by on fumes.

Those who didn’t have someone to spoil — or choose not to engage in the commercialism — are just glad it’s over. Nothing more annoying than seeing people throwing their PDA around like monkeys slinging poo, am I right?

(Okay, actually I’m a sucker for sweet, romantic gestures and love stories, and I never miss an opportunity to kiss my girlfriend in public. But I digress.)

Among this group of the Valentine’s-Day-disenfranchised, I observed a pattern. Namely, Facebook posts insisting they were okay with being alone with their alcohol, pizza, and pets.

In some cases, I believed them. Some of these people were genuinely enjoying their time alone. Others just wanted to make themselves believe it.

But here’s the beautiful part. If you set aside the manufactured obligation of trying to buy disposable, often forgettable stuff for your sweetheart, Valentine’s Day is just a reminder to practice self-love. A reminder to do what resonates most in the depths of your heart and makes you sing.

Sitting alone with your cats and watching Heath Ledger movies — if that’s your truest expression of joy in that moment — is perfect. That’s self-love, the same as kissing and holding a lover.

My girlfriend and I couldn’t get together on Valentine’s Day, so I practiced self-love in my own ways. I consumed vibrant, nutrient-rich green food that I enjoy; I called my girl to tell her how much I love her; I watched an episode of Modern Family on Hulu; I took a bath; I played the piano.

That night, I took the special needs kid I work with out for dinner. While walking toward the bathroom, I overheard a 3-year-old boy telling his mom that he hadn’t been able to reach the sink to wash his hands. I volunteered to help him, and after the surprised mother gave her okay, I had the kid hoisted up on my knee so that he could reach the water.

It couldn’t have been more than a couple of minutes, and yet it lit up my entire evening!

Every day should be a celebration of love. You don’t need a special day of the year to tell your girlfriend that you love her more than Call of Duty (most days), send your mom a card, or take a bath and eat chocolate without guilt.

All love is self-love. When you share your love and attention with someone, both of you are blessed by it. There is no “other” when it comes to love. Each person in your life is, in a very real sense, an aspect of you. It’s easy to forget, but also easy to correct.

Go find someone to hug. Despite what you may believe, you don’t get a pass on loving yourself or the world, even if Valentine’s Day ended at midnight.