I must admit, I tend to have a cynical attitude towards the commercial focus of holidays. I see no purpose in having wall calendars anymore; just glance into your nearest store and you’ll know what month you’re in, based on the colors on the shelves. This month, it’s been reds and pinks, and everything fluffy, flowery and chocolaty. I don’t so much mind the chocolate part. So with sweetness on our minds, let’s talk about love, and we have to start with the person closest to you, meaning you. The way we love ourselves is connected to how we love others or the way we want others to love us. So sit down and think of the way you speak to yourself in the privacy of your mind, the way you think and talk about yourself, the way you treat yourself. Do you talk to yourself kindly, encouraging, with confidence, or do you self criticize, lecture or blame? Do you believe in yourself, appreciate yourself, do you nurture all of you? Start paying attention to your inner voice (is it a cheerleader or a judge?), your daily routine (do you eat healthy, exercise), and your balance in life (too much work or too much fun?) and little by little create small changes where they’re needed. Keep a gratitude journal about yourself or start using intentions and affirmations in order to strengthen your self-image; take time to eat more vegetables and go for more walks; make it a point to laugh during the day, even if you have to pull up silly youtube videos. By starting to love yourself more, you’ll feel more confident, and it will show; and guess what, not only will you like being in your own presence more, others will too. And who knows, someone might end up coming along with some flowers and a box of chocolates, just for you, Valentine.