Avatar photo

By Hein Kaiser


Love yourself first this Valentine’s Day

Make Valentine's Day about you, as much as its about your significant other.

Before you can love someone else, you need to love yourself. And as love’s season heads closer, it’s an important rule of thumb, a line in the sand that you must draw for yourself, said Johannesburg psychologist Dr Jonathan Redelinghuys of Medicare24.  

“While Valentine’s Day is a celebration traditionally earmarked for couples, it is evolving into a more inclusive observation that honours love in all its forms, including the most foundational love of all, self-love,” said Dr Redelinghuys.

“The importance of first nurturing a relationship with your inner self, accepting who you are and embracing your flaws, should not be underestimated,” he said.

Whether you are single or not around this time of year, the former does not have to be considered an indictment and the latter not a limitation on self-love.

Self-care is an important aspect of embracing the self and nurturing self-love, said Dr Redelinghuys. “It is about taking care of your body, mind, and spirit. Dedicate Valentine’s Day, or a part of it, to pamper yourself. Self-care isn’t selfish; it’s necessary for your well-being.”

“Who says you need someone else to buy you flowers or chocolates?” said Dr Redelinghuys. “Treat yourself to something that brings you joy, whether it’s a small piece of jewellery, a book by your favourite author, or simply a luxurious bubble bath,” he said. “The act of gifting isn’t just about the item itself; it’s about acknowledging your worth and giving yourself permission to enjoy the things that make you happy.”

Looking after yourself not only holds personal benefit but, said Dr Redelinghuys, positive dividends are realised in all human relationships, whether with a lover or not.

“By caring for yourself you change the way that you interact with the world. It impacts confidence, how you carry yourself, and your opinion about yourself is projected in every aspect of your engagement with other people. It’s a frequency that that will turn impact the way in which others respond to you,” he said.

This Valentine’s Day take some time to reflect on your own life’s journey, your growth, and the love you have for yourself. Write down what you love about yourself, the good bits about you, your achievements, and how you have overcome challenges in the past. Almost a hit-parade of the goodness inside you.

“Connecting with nature can be equally as therapeutic,” said Dr Redelinghuys. “Sometimes, the best way to reconnect with yourself is to take time out in nature. Whether it is a walk in a park, a hike or simply sitting quietly near a body of water. Nature can remind you of your own inner peace and strength.”

Dr Redelinghuys also recommends mindfulness and meditation to strengthen your inner connection. It helps reduce stress, improves emotional well-being and self-awareness.

“Also take some time out to indulge in your favourite activities, he suggested. This could be anything from binge-watching favourite series through to pursuing activities that provide a sense of fulfilment.

“Whether it’s painting, dancing, cooking, or even playing video games, give yourself the freedom to indulge in your passions without any guilt,” he said.

“This Valentine’s Day give yourself permission to explore who you are first, give yourself the time to fall in love with who you are. Challenge the conventional narrative by celebrating yourself,” said Dr Redelinghuys.

Remember, he said, the relationship you have with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship in your life.

Read more on these topics

love treatment Valentine's day

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits