A Day to Honor Love
In the secular West, February 14th is the day we celebrate Valentine’s Day. Named after the 3rd-century Roman clergyman St. Valentine, whose martyrdom is said to have occurred on the 14th of February, Valentine’s Day is the day we set aside to honor romantic love.
The link between the historical person of St. Valentine and heart-shaped candy isn’t obvious. Valentinus is also the patron saint of beekeeping and epilepsy, for example, and is not known to have displayed any ardent romantic leanings.
Be that as it may, on the day of St. Valentine we celebrate a conception of romantic love handed down to us from the High Middle Ages, when the practice
of courtly love flowered. Associated with knights and ladies of the royal court, love was codified during that time with a formalized set of rules of chivalry, believed to capture the nobility of romantic love.
The Arrival of Self Love
In 2024, our notions of love have expanded and changed in more than a few ways. We have largely moved on from the chivalric code, with some charming vestiges lingering in the form of gifted chocolates, red roses, and the sweet notion of agreeing to be someone’s valentine.
One big, interesting change since the heraldic days is the emergence of self-love as a healing concept. Hasn’t almost everyone you know at least heard of the idea that we have to love and care for ourselves? Self-love has become a household name.
And it’s a good thing, too. Because we humans, and especially us women, need self-love so badly our failure to love ourselves can be called an epidemic. We can’t feel love. We don’t know what it is. We don’t think we deserve it. We push it away. We run after the wrong people, thinking we can get love out of them.
How many of us try to replace love with everything it isn’t: with attention, with looking good, with meaningless sex? How often are we mixing love up with narcissistic reflection, with the need for a valuable, admirable self in the eyes of another?
We need some help in the true love department.
Valentine’s Day as Self-Love Day
This year, Villa Kali Ma would like to invite you to be your own Valentine. Here are our suggestions for celebrating your lovability and expressing your sense of romance with someone who deserves and needs your love: you!
If you’re like us, you need your love most of all, whether you’re paired up or flying solo this year.
Our suggestion is to take it as a creative challenge this year, to think about all 5 of the love languages, and give yourself some love in each of the channels. If you’re not familiar with the idea of love languages, it can be helpful to read about it.
The basic idea is that love can be expressed and received in a lot of different ways. The key languages are words, gifts, time, acts of service, and touch.
5 Love Languages: 5 Ways to Give Love to Yourself
Make yourself a Valentine’s Card, just like in school, using glue, stickers, and all the colors you like best.
Then open it up and write yourself an over-the-top love letter on the inside. Write the letter that you have always wished someone would send you.
See if you can channel the energy of young love, of besottedness, of being weak-kneed. Convey to yourself how very worthy you are of being in love with, of falling for, of being enchanted by.
If you have been in love, you know what it’s like – the person’s eyelashes seem like perfection, every little detail of their body sings to you. When you look at any person with the eyes of being in love, you see things differently.
Imagine someone looking at you that way, being charmed by you, under your spell. Then write from that point of view, as though you, yes you, are the only one for you.
Another powerful way to do this is to record a loving, gushing voice message for yourself, and then listen to it. Take on the perspective of the lover you need, the one who is made just for you, who is completely yours, who would never leave you.
Get or make for yourself a meaningful little gift that symbolizes something to you personally and touches your heart.
It doesn’t have to be luxurious – sentiment more than the price tag is what counts here, as in life. But it’s also ok to spend a little more than you might normally, especially if you rarely spoil yourself and this is an exceptional behavior.
You can look for gifts linked explicitly with romance: beautiful flowers (picking out a bouquet of all the flowers you love and respond to energetically can be a fun activity on its own), or a box of chocolates.
Sometimes the best gifts are home-made. In the old days, we used to make each other mix tapes. What would be a meaningful creative gift that says, I love you, you’re the one I want, I’m all about you?
It can be helpful to think about an ideal romantic partner, and what they could give you that would make you feel so seen, so known, so understood, and so loved beyond doubt.
3. Acts of Service
Do something for yourself that needs to be done, an act of service that you honestly wish someone would do for you.
It might not sound romantic at first, but haven’t we all been touched at one point in our lives by someone’s thoughtful act, when someone took care of something for us, took a burden off our back?
It can be surprisingly healing to fix one’s broken sink, do our taxes early for once, and weed the garden.
If we can’t feel the love in that, consider something like cooking ourselves a lovely meal, the kind where you have to go get special ingredients and try something new to make it. Do something for yourself, that you feel is helpful, supportive, and a way of signaling that you have your own back.
Love the body you are this year, through the love language of touch.
Take a hot bath with essential oils and salts. Moisturize with something that smells like heaven to you. Wear something that the body loves to have on its skin.
Get some naked time if you haven’t in a while. Give yourself a long, slow, thorough massage, without rushing. It doesn’t have to be sensual per se – just something that feels like an expression of love to the body.
Alone time is precious, worth its weight in spiritual gold. If you’re not partnered up right now, that means you have a beautiful chance to spend quality time with yourself in whatever way you secretly want, making Valentine’s Day a day to savor.
Create protected circumstances for being present with yourself, whatever that looks like or needs to be. Maybe you want to take a little trip to the mountains for a hike alone. Maybe you want to re-read a wonderful book you read as a young adult. Bake cookies and eat them. It’s your day.
The Most Super-Powered Self-Love Activity
If you want to take your self-love to the next level, try this very powerful exercise on Valentine’s Day this year.
Set a timer for 12 minutes. Look at yourself in the mirror for the entire 12 minutes. After the first minute of gazing at yourself, start saying to your image, I love you. Say it over and over again for the entire 12 minutes. Look into your own eyes, say your name, and see what happens.
It will feel uncomfortably long. Perhaps you will feel like you’re faking it. That’s ok. The words count to the woman in the mirror.
Villa Kali Ma Can Help You With Self Love
Villa Kali Ma is dedicated to supporting women to rediscover the lively, warming power within them that gives rise to their unique lives.
We know all about how the life force within gets discouraged, how we lose our fire and our heart when life beats us down a little too much. We know how we blame ourselves, and how we take the suffering we feel as a further sign of how much we’ve failed.
None of it is true. The only truth is love. If we are not seeing ourselves with the forgiving, renewing eyes of life’s love for us, we are not seeing clearly.
If you need a hand remembering how to love yourself, others, and the world – we’re here.