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In the spirit of Valentine’s Day touching down this Saturday, I’ve decided to post my column from bay magazine’s “bay blog” here on Fit Soul and Spice as well, in an effort to reach a greater number of individuals.  The sole, or better yet, soul, mission of this week’s column is to inspire all to aspire to self-love.

There is a stigma that seems to surround the purpose of Valentine’s Day, and it often leads to people harshly and critically judging themselves, their lives, their choices, and their circumstances.  This, in turn, frequently leads to self-shaming and negativity.  We must ask ourselves this question: where is the self-love?  This Valentine’s Day, I urge you to read my column, posted below, and then look within yourselves for the answer to this question.  Hone in on the remedy for positive change in your life. . .

A Dash of Self-Love

By Christine Florio

Creator of lifestyle blog, Fit Soul and Spice

 Love is in the air, my friends ~ Valentine’s Day is upon us! Roses are en route, Cupid is soaring, and people everywhere are searching to figure out their perfect V-day plans. I’ve realized over time that I have many friends who absolutely love Valentine’s Day, and I have several who completely dread it. The bold line between these two common reactions drives this week’s topic to inspire, reflect, and perhaps regroup through a generous dash of self-love.

As time goes on, I speak to more and more people who view Valentine’s day, a day that is meant for l-o-v-e, as more of a silly, unnecessary conspiracy created by Hallmark, florists, and chocolate companies, and less as a day that represents love, affection, kindness, and the warmth of those closest to us. Of course I understand and respect all personal opinions about the significance and meaning of Valentine’s Day. After all, as a society, we’ve seemed to affirm that Valentine’s Day is mainly ‘couples’ driven. With that point of view, it’s no wonder so many of us become somewhat cynical each year among its looming presence! Unfortunately, affirmations such as this, as well as additional V-day stigmas, tend to commercialize this day, while drowning out all of the opportunities to embrace genuine love.

The gift of individuality in this world is far too beautiful for us to pigeonhole Valentine’s Day as a day catered to specific groups or labels, rather than viewing it for what it really should be: a day dedicated to acknowledging all types of love; anyone, anywhere, anytime.

That being said, whatever your plans may be, I encourage everyone reading this today to join me in changing the game a bit this Valentine’s Day by embracing and showering themselves in the most important and essential love of all: self-love!

Whatever the view may be regarding Valentine’s Day, we should all take some time this year to reflect and implement some self-love into our lives. And what better day could we choose than one that is so heavily dedicated to warmth, kindness, and compassion? Take a moment to define what it is that you want and deserve in love and in life. The self-love, self-worth, and self-confidence you build within yourself, will draw into your life all of the love, happiness, and positivity that you deserve.

Treat yourself to the best Valentine’s Day gift possible this year: a strong sense of self, the acknowledgment of the love and energy that you want surrounding your life, and what it means to build, appreciate, and embrace self-love.

Whether you’re with your significant other, your family, your best friends, or by yourself with a good book, Valentine’s Day is dedicated to every single one of us – because we are all worthy and capable of love. Enjoy the fact that Valentine’s Day is on a Saturday this year by spending the day doing the things you love most!

Some Self-Love Building Exercises:

~ Go outside and enjoy a long, reflective walk full of fresh air.

~ Bundle up on the couch with a movie from your favorite genre.

~ Catch up on that TV show you never have time to watch.

~ Treat yourself to a massage or spa day.

~ Meet friends, old or new, for brunch and catch up on life.

~ Jump in the car with a friend and see where the drive takes you!

~ Sleep in and turn your alarm off. No snooze button today!

~ Try a new cuisine with your beau or friends.

~ Go out and dance the night away!

If it’s something that makes you feel love and fulfillment, then go for it whole-heartedly! You are the one who defines your basis for joy.

I truly, deeply believe that in our inspiring age of empowerment, independence, and extreme creativity, more people have the power and desire to make the conscious choice to embrace this day with a more open-minded, confidence driven meaning. Not only can this transform the stigma that surrounds Valentine’s Day, but it can also trickle down into all the days of your life. Make efforts to channel your talents and passions, be thankful for and aware of your blessings, and acknowledge all of the goals and dreams you have set for yourself.

Valentine’s Day, like every other day in life, is what you choose to make of it.   Like I always say, a positive attitude and self-love will lead to success and happiness. I hope that after reading this week’s entry, you will try and view Valentine’s Day with both your eyes and your heart from a different angle this year, aspiring to focus on self-love, self-worth, and all of the things that make you feel blessed as a unique individual in this exhilarating, wonderful journey called life.

Stay amazing, stay empowered, and Happy Valentine’s Day, with a special dash of love to all from Fit Soul and Spice! xoxo