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Since I was a little girl I'd dreaded Valentine’s Day. I dreaded it because I never had a “real” valentine.
Oh sure, my dad would buy me flowers and chocolate but I did not have the attention or affection of boy. (I now realize what a gift it was to have my dad care enough to buy me gifts.)
I let Valentine’s Day be a reminder that I didn’t feel I was pretty enough, sexy enough, or womanly enough to have a boyfriend. These feelings continued to high school, college and into my adulthood.
Every Valentine’s Day I would be alone thinking no one thought I was worth spending time with or energy on. Even when I had a boyfriend he always seemed to be out of town or unavailable to spend time with me on this one particular day.
As I look back I really let my feelings of low self-esteem about my looks take over. Simply, I let Valentine’s Day be a trigger to deflate my self-esteem.
For many years I would value myself based on the things I did or the way I looked. I would have low self-esteem because I would compare myself to the people around me or what popular culture said was acceptable.
Since I am a high achiever I always could look at my accomplishments to help me feel good about myself. I was able to hide my low self-esteem about my body and my femininity through all the things I accomplished. On Valentine’s Day not having a boyfriend made me feel like I failed at being loveable.
In my late twenties I began to discover self-care. My life completely changed because I used the tools of self-care to raise my self-esteem from the inside out.
According to Christine Meinecke, PhD, author of "Self-care in a toxic world: Self-care may not be what you think it is" in Psychology Today published June, 4, 2010, self-care means choosing behaviors that balance the effects of emotional and physical stressors: exercising, eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, practicing yoga or meditation, or relaxation techniques, abstaining from substance abuse, pursuing creative outlets, and engaging in psychotherapy.