The public perception of Valentine’s Day is a mixed bag. On one hand, couples often enjoy the additional opportunity to express their love for each other. On the other, those not entangled in romantic relationships may have a scornful outlook. Why do so many people hold such strong feelings towards Valentine’s Day?
We have been conditioned as a society to place a heavy importance on romantic love. Read any book, watch any movie, listen to any song, and you’ll notice how pervasive love is in our every-day lives. It’s no wonder so many people feel pressured to find love and put so much value in it. Romantic love is steeped in our societal narrative. The problem arises when we tie our self-worth to our relationship status.
Self-Worth and External Validation
Merriam-Webster defines self-worth as “a sense of one’s own value as a human being.” It is important to recognize that we as human beings are inherently valuable. However, we often confuse our inherent value with external validation. The love we receive from a partner can be a form of external validation, along with what other people think of us and our relationship. When this type of validation becomes the basis of our self-worth, we’ve lost all control. We cannot control those around us as much as we would like to think. In fact, seeking validation from others often stems from fears and insecurities linked to this lack of control.
Learn to Love Yourself
One thing we do have control over is how we perceive ourselves independent of external validation. In essence, we can separate our self-worth from our relationships by learning how to love ourselves. This seems obvious, right? The sad truth is that it’s quite hard for a lot of us since we are constantly looking outward instead of inward. Investing in ourselves and having self-compassion can go a long way in how we feel about ourselves. Read a book, develop a new skill, keep a promise you made to yourself. Focus on the small victories. Working to love ourselves will in turn lead to happier and more successful relationships down the road.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Breaking the habit of comparison is essential to realizing our self-worth. Whether in a relationship or not, comparing ourselves to others will only lead to despair. We must remember that what we see on social media is never the whole story. In addition, as individuals, we all have different needs, so what works for some people may not work for others.
Let’s recognize our inner strengths and celebrate our successes! Relationships will not make or break us, but by knowing our inherent value, we can contribute more meaningfully to all of our relationships – romantic, familial, and platonic. If you need help realizing your self-worth, I am offering in-person appointments as well as HIPAA-compliant virtual options. Contact me, today.