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Valentine’s day is fast approaching. It always takes me by surprise. Feels like I just put the Christmas tree away and here we are with another major celebration. Time for more gifts, not to mention the pressure.

If you’ve noticed, we talk about it. As the end of January comes along we tend to express our views about this day. Many say it’s a day that was manufactured by Hallmark and retailers. Others say it doesn’t matter to them and they are not celebrating. Some say they don’t celebrate because you are supposed to love every day and not just that one day. Others say they don’t like chocolates. It’s almost become fashionable to phoo-phoo Valentine’s Day.

But I’ve been thinking about this. Why do we like to diss Valentine’s Day? I think there are many reasons. Some of the reasons could be that those of us still single feel the pressure of not being in a relationship. We don’t have anyone to buy cards and flowers for and no one who is going to send us flowers either. Then there are those that are in a relationship. For some I think it becomes a performance issue. Somehow, the Valentine’s Day gift takes precedence over all the other acts of love. Especially for men. What did he give you? Where did he take you? Was it a really expensive restaurant? Me? Just give me a card with a hand written note.

Anyway, having been through the ups and downs of V-Days in the past, I now have a different perspective. Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love. It is one day that we set aside for the celebration of love, all over the world. In the chaotic world that we live in, I think it’s a good thing. What could be better than celebrating love? It doesn’t mean we don’t love all the other days. It is not mutually exclusive. Like our birthdays. A day set aside to celebrate us. Does that mean to we don’t appreciate ourselves the rest of the year?

Which brings me to what I really want to talk about. We spend a lot of time thinking about others to love. It’s always external. What about ourselves? Do we love ourselves the way we want others to love us? Maybe some of you have already tamed the self-critic and mastered self-love. Some of us have not. I caught myself this week as I was preparing Spa Packages. They are for year round but I really wanted to get them out for Valentine’s Day. And I am late. As I was beating myself up for being so late, while everyone else out there has been doing it for weeks, I just took a moment and I made a decision. V-day starts with me. I would love to share a few tips of some of the things I have been practicing.

For those of you with a strong self-critic, decide to talk to yourself as you would a friend. You wouldn’t tell your best friend “You suck” twenty times a day, would you? What happens when you tell a friend you made a mistake, wish you had done something differently? Usually the response would be something like “It’s okay, it’s no big deal”. Try doing that for yourself.

Second, treat yourself to little pleasures. The other day I was in a store buying supplies for Mayur. There were these decorative branches with lights on them that would go so well in some of my arrangements. It made me happy to think about how nice it would look and in turn how nice it would make me feel. It’s been a very long time since I have bought anything for myself. So I got them. And yes, the little twinkly lights makes me smile every time I see them. So gift yourself something. Doesn’t have to be super expensive, but get yourself something that will make you smile.

Third, smell nice things. Buy some fragrant roses, or lilies. Dab some essential oils. Of all our senses, the sense of smell is the only one that has remained strongest through the eons. Our olfactory system is very close to the brain and has a very short run up to the limbic system in the brain which in turn regulates our mood. Smells evoke feelings that are attached to them. They can be memories or imagined. They can make us feel warm and cozy on a cold day.

January has been a doozer of a month in many ways and I noticed that I have had a craving lately for nice smells and so I have been reaching for certain Mayur products repeatedly in the evenings. The Silk for Her Body Butter (coming soon!) just made me feel so romantic, old world, visions of Bogart. So much so, that I think I am going to rename that butter. Something about Casablanca. What do you think? I’ve also been craving Lavender and Tuberose. Lavender makes sense because it helps you relax. So I make liberal use of the Sleep Linen Spray on my pillow and it feels so good to climb into bed. But Tuberose? That took me by surprise. Tuberose is a tropical smell, it is meant to awaken sensual, romantic feelings. The Night Queen as it is often called. So I guess the self-kindness and self-love I have been practicing this past week has awakened a self-nurturing part of me that makes me feel warm and cuddly all by myself. This to me is the super bonus. You don’t need anyone else to tell you and make you feel like a King or a Queen. You are the monarch of your own kingdom.

And so my friends, join me in the celebration of Valentine’s Day and let’s start with ourselves. If there’s no one to send you flowers, how about you send some to yourself? Give yourself a Spa Package, spoil yourself silly.

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