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Valentine’s Day: Reflections on how Self-Care Changed my Life

By Expert HERWriter
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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.

I became so committed to learning about self-care I decided to go to naturopathic medical school and become an expert, and teach others how to create self-care in their lives as well.

The article pointed out that self-care and self-pampering are not the same thing. Self-care means to change your thinking everyday, to focus on creating esteem from the inside out.

In my own life it has taken years of practice and I still fall off the wagon from time to time. The practice of self-care helped me to change my low self-esteem to much higher esteem because I changed the way I talked and thought about myself.

I’m so pleased I took the time and did the work. Now I love myself each and every day.

This Valentine’s Day was a wonderful day! I woke up with a great attitude knowing that I was going to have a Valentine’s Day full of love and happy surprises.

I changed my thinking about this holiday to being grateful for all of the love and support I receive from friends and family. I relabeled upsetting thoughts and created positive thought patterns about Valentine’s Day about 5 years ago.

Now each year I have a more joyous time during this holiday. This might not seem like a terrific feat, however for me this was an extremely big win. I had a lovely day and shared my love with all of my friends and family.

Self-care is a practice, taking the time to create a healthy lifestyle and including eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, exercising makes all the difference in the quality of life. Self-care combined with persistent self-love creates high self-esteem and a positive outlook on life no matter what day it is!

Live Vibrantly,

Dr. Dae

Dr. Dae is a Naturopathic Physician who practices in the Washington DC metro area treats the whole person using safe and effective combinations of traditional and natural methods to produce optimal health and well-being in the lives of her patients.


Greenberg, Melanie A., and Ph.D.. "Self-care in a toxic world | Psychology Today." Psychology Today: Health, Help, Happiness + Find a Therapist. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2012.

"Self-esteem: Boost your self-image with these 5 steps - MayoClinic.com." Mayo Clinic. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2012.

Reviewed February 16, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment1 Comments

Me too suffered the same, now am married, but still NO Valentine day celebration, instead, he sends Valentine greeting to ex-girl friends / co-workers ...
Am still suffering in SILENCE.
What to do!

February 20, 2012 - 10:57pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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