The gift of self-acceptance for Valentine's Day


Happy Valentine’s Day EVERYONE. YES! EVERYONE!!

What even is Valentine’s Day and where did it come from? Well, if you look through the literature, you’ll probably find competing theories, but the following seems consistent with a lot of the information that is out there, and we think it’s credible…and slightly warm and fuzzy!

“Having a particular Valentine's Day is a very old tradition, thought to have originated from a Roman festival. The Romans had a festival called Lupercalia in the middle of February - officially the start of their springtime.

It's thought that as part of the celebrations, boys drew names of girls from a box. They'd be boyfriend and girlfriend during the festival and sometimes they'd get married.

Later, the church wanted to turn this festival into a Christian celebration and decided to use it to remember St Valentine too.

Gradually, St Valentine's name started to be used by people to express their feelings to those they loved. That demands a collective, “awwwwww” don’t you reckon?

At LIVIN, while we appreciate the reported history of Valentine’s Day and its modern-day interpretation; that is, expressing feelings to those you love (usually your partner) and showering them with love, we also understand that not everyone has a partner. In fact, jump on Tinder, Bumble, Plenty of Fish, Hinge, Elite Singles, zoosk, eHarmony etc. etc. etc. (literally) and you will see that there are thousands of single people out there. This year, we’d like to think that Valentine’s Day can be very much about self-love or as we prefer self-acceptance. Or to sound more traditional, because Valentine’s Day is a traditional celebration as you now know based on the enthralling history lesson above – ‘love thy self’. 

We’re going to take just 2-3 minutes here to give you some Valentine’s Day lovin’, focusing on self-acceptance and of course, what we always love to talk about because it’s so bloody important, self-care.

Self-acceptance.

Self-acceptance relates to the acceptance of all your attributes, both positive and negative, and could include things like body acceptance, protecting yourself from negative criticism or nastiness from others, and believing in your capabilities and potential. 

When we stop judging ourselves so harshly (and we all do it from time to time), we can begin to secure a more positive sense of who we are. That doesn’t mean we need to think we are king sh*t all the time, but it means it’s fine to be accepting of our own ‘OK-ness’. It’s okay to be just okay sometimes, it’s great to be great at certain things and its very, very normal to suck at other things. 

At LIVIN, we think the science around self-acceptance is pretty interesting. If you feel negatively about yourself, the brain regions that help you control emotions and stress have less grey matter than someone with greater self-acceptance – that is, these parts of the brain have less tissue to work with. Without a greater degree of self-acceptance, your emotional and mental well-being can be adversely affected. Therefore, it’s important to have some strategies you can adopt to improve your self-acceptance. 

How to boost your self-acceptance (let’s keep this simple for now):

  • Start treating yourself like a friend, a loved one, someone you are helping, or at least in the same way you treat your dog (that might sound silly, but so many people treat their dogs so much better than they treat themselves). For example, people are better at properly administering prescription medication to their pets than themselves. WHHHHHAAAAAAAATTTT!? START TREATING YOURSELF WITH KINDNESS AND A SENSE OF WORTH! You’ve seen it written on some of our LIVIN wear – “You Matter”, start believing this! 
  • Practice regular self-care. That is prioritising doing things each day that make you feel good about YOU. Check out this article for some great information on the importance of self-care and some self-care tips and tricks. An important take away from reading the linked article is that not all the methods discussed work for everyone. So, it is most important to do what works for you. 
  • Self-acceptance is vital to a healthy emotional and psychological life. Start exploring what works for you today and then continue to practice this very thing, or these very things every single day.

    This Valentine’s Day embrace your partner if you have one – buy her 12 long stemmed roses or buy him a beef jerky bouquet (don’t get all funny, we are light heartedly generalising here) – we aren’t discouraging the gift of giving on special occasions like Valentine’s Day, but don’t be too disheartened if you don’t have a partner. Do something for yourself that works for YOU! 

    If you don’t wake up this Valentine’s Day and smell the roses, that’s okay, do something nice for yourself instead, or a random act of kindness to someone else

    I once read in a book by Robert Holden (I believe the book is called “Happiness Now!”), “Happiness and self-acceptance go hand in hand. In fact, your level of self-acceptance determines your level of happiness. The more self-acceptance you have, the more happiness you’ll allow yourself to accept, receive and enjoy. In other words, you enjoy as much happiness as you believe you’re worthy of”. Well-bloody-said-Bob!

    “Comparison is the thief of joy” – stop comparing yourself to others.

    And one last quote, because let’s face it some people just say it better than we ever can – and you know what, I’m okay with that, I am self-accepting of that.

    “Let go of who you think you are supposed to be and be who you are” (Brene Brown)

    If you think you’re struggling with poor self-acceptance, low self-esteem, loneliness or anything for that matter, reach out to a professional today. Check out the Get Help section on our website for some mental health professional help options.