How to be your own Valentine this year
So, you don’t have a Valentine? Well, welcome to the club!

As we approach the looming holiday of red roses and homemade cards, I am struck with the realization that I will be spending February 14 alone this year. Now, you might think I’d be bitter toward the lovey-dovey couples I pass in the hallways on campus, but the truth is, I’m quite happy to not have any Valentine’s Day plans. 

I’ve been in relationships before, so my opinion on the holiday comes from a very neutral stance. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the special feeling of sharing Valentine’s Day with a significant other. But I also understand the other side of it: spending Valentine’s Day alone.

As a single girl in my 20s, I am beginning to learn that the most important relationship I will ever have is the one I have with myself. So, while my Valentine’s Day this year won’t consist of a fancy dinner date or romantic gesture, I still find contentment on this day of love, even in solitude.

The other day, I got off the bus and was welcomed by the display window of a local flower shop. Arrays of beautifully arranged red, pink, and white bouquets flooded my vision, and I decided to walk into the store. I’m nothing if not an avid window shopper. “It couldn’t hurt to just peek in,” I told myself. 

Valentine’s Day was just over a week away and the shop’s decorations were in full swing with love hearts and flower petals. I roamed the selection, awing at the carnations and lilies scattered across the shelves, until my gaze stumbled upon a bouquet of cream and baby pink roses.

As I looked at the roses, I realized I couldn’t remember the last time I received flowers from somebody. Then, I was struck with another realization: I could accept that I wouldn’t have a Valentine this year, but I could not accept leaving the store without the flowers.  

With a nicely wrapped mini bouquet in hand and a C$12 transaction out of my bank account, I left the flower shop with a skip in my step and a dozen roses to my name. If I was going to spend Valentine’s Day alone, I was going to make sure that I still enjoyed it. 

Even though a part of me wishes I could skip out on Valentine’s Day altogether, it’s unfortunately an unavoidable holiday. So instead, I’ve decided to reframe the way I think about it. 

When I was younger, I felt a lot of pressure about Valentine’s Day. I wanted to have the best homemade cards, the cutest pink outfit, and ultimately, the undivided attention of a schoolboy crush. The problem with all of this, however, is that the holiday transformed into this constant need for validation from others. 

Now, at 20 years old, I’m forced to reprogram the way I approach Valentine’s Day. Instead of seeking validation from someone else—be it a partner or a friend or a schoolboy crush—what if it was a holiday to celebrate me? At the end of the day, Valentine’s Day is about love, so whether I’m single or taken doesn’t quite matter. I love myself, so why not just be my own Valentine?

My Mom always tells me to put myself at the top of my to-do list. Let this Valentine’s Day be your reminder to do the same. Maybe there’s an item on your wish list that you’ve had your eye on for a while. Go treat yourself to it. Have an ideal day in mind? Go schedule time to go on your own date! Maybe you can cook (or order in) your go-to meal, put on a new outfit you love, and watch your favourite comfort series on TV. Or perhaps there’s an art exhibit you’ve always wanted to visit, a new film you’ve always wanted to see, or a park you’ve always wanted to walk around in. These things are fun to do with others, but we can also do it by ourselves and enjoy it just as much. 

While it can certainly be a challenge to walk into a flower shop and confidently walk out with roses you’ve bought yourself, trust me when I say that you will leave feeling extremely loved. 

But being your own Valentine can also be something you do in secret. Find a quiet space and write a letter addressed to yourself. Note down the things you love—the qualities, the quirks—that make you, you. Once you’ve finished writing it, read it aloud. Remind yourself how awesome you are, how loved you are. It might be an uncomfortable and unfamiliar thing at first, but self-love is a daily practice. Start doing positive things for yourself today, and over time, you will notice a significant difference in your confidence, self-worth, and emotional well-being. 

So, no Valentine this year? No problem. I challenge you to be your own! Treat yourself to self-love, and most importantly, don’t let it be exclusive to February 14. Self-love is something you should strive for every day, whether you are single or in a relationship. 

With that, I wish you the happiest of Valentine’s Days and the utmost love for the rest of your February. But remember: your self-love practices shouldn’t end when the roses and hearts get replaced with shamrocks and parades. Continue to celebrate self-love every day, regardless of what day of the year it is. 

Staff Writer (Volume 50) — Keira is in her third year at UTM, working toward a double major in Communications, Culture, Information, and Technology (CCIT) and Professional Writing and Communications (PWC). She is a writer, photographer, filmmaker, music lover, nature enthusiast, and above all, a health and wellness advocate who cares deeply about the world around her. When she’s not working or studying, you’ll find her reading her favourite lit-fic novels in the park or booking spontaneous trips around the world.


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