Three Ways to Express Self-Love on Valentine’s Day

By Sheila O’Shea

“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”

– Oscar Wilde, An Ideal Husband

Valentine’s Day is known as a day to express love to one’s romantic partner with cards, flowers, candy, and gifts. But you don’t need a partner to have someone to express love to. I’m not in a romantic relationship right now, but I’ve still made plans for Valentine’s Day. Here are three things I intend to do to show love to myself, which you can take and adapt to your own wants and needs.

Treasure the Body

I would love to take a bath, but I haven’t had a bathtub in over fifteen years. I have a shower, though, and my showering is usually done hastily. I want this shower to be a little more leisurely and intentional, with the bath pouf, the nice-smelling soap, and some fancy shampoo. Even something as mundane as a shower can become a treat when you pay attention to the caress of the water, the sound of it falling, and the scent of the soap. Being mindful of your own body and surroundings during seemingly mundane activities like showering helps you to focus on the present. 

Have Some Good Food

There are some things we only eat on special occasions, and Valentine’s Day is a good day to indulge in them. One of the traditional “special occasion” meals in my family is tenderloin steak with a baked potato. Both of them are very easy to cook, and the cleanup isn’t terribly complicated. (I’m also planning on getting some especially good dark chocolate, because of course I would.) If you have a favorite meal that you like to cook, Valentine’s Day is a perfect day to have it, and to savor every bite. Cook it as if you’re making it for someone you love. Because you are, really, aren’t you?

Do Something Fun

One of my favorite films is La Belle et la Bête, Jean Cocteau’s take on the tale of Beauty and the Beast. I don’t watch it very often, perhaps because I don’t want to get tired of it. But Valentine’s Day seems like the perfect day to settle down with a story about love in the face of all odds. If you have a favorite movie to watch, a book to read, or album or playlist to listen to, take it out and enjoy it. It will put you in touch with what you really like, and what you love about that thing will be, in essence, what you love about yourself.

These things can also be done if you’re with a partner because in loving yourself, your love for others becomes freer and easier. If you don’t have a partner at the moment, these things can help you give yourself the love you deserve. Valentine’s Day can be for love of all kinds, so take some time to appreciate yourself properly.

A portrait image of Sheila O'Shea.

Sheila O’Shea is a writer, recovering poet, and one of the first graduates of the Creative Writing program at Emory University. She acted in Theatre Gael’s production of Waiting for Godot, sang on the album The Mod Mod Sounds of Middlesex, and DJed for Emory’s college radio station. She’s currently working on The Ten Thousand Flowers Project, in which she draws flowers and gives them away to people, with the intention of drawing and giving away ten thousand of them. She hopes to hit 5,000 flowers by the start of 2022. You can find out how to get one at She also works as a freelance copywriter, with an emphasis on narrative marketing. You can find out about her writing services at