Valentine's Day is right around the corner and love is in the air! Now's the perfect time to stumble across countless articles on how to find the perfect gift for your boo, or how to organize a giant anti-vday party, because every single must be miserable on this day! Or mustn't they?

Now I understand that being in a committed relationship can be fairly nice. Personally, I'm a huge sucker for all those matching couple things, be it sweaters, pillows or mugs. But I'm single, and you know what that means? More sweaters, pillows or mugs just for me.

I'm trying to be humorous, but I know self love is a tough topic to chew on. I'm afraid I can't just churn out a fool-proof tutorial on how to do it, but I can try to share some things with you I've learned over the years.

❤ Learn How To Be Alone ❤

Okay, okay, I know what you're thinking: "but Joy, I already am alone, and I hate it!" Let me stop you right there. There's a huge difference between being alone and being lonely, and being alone doesn't have to feel bad at all!
Over time I've encountered many girls (and boys!) who simply couldn't spend a whole day on their own. And you know why? It's because they were insecure. They didn't like themselves, and as a consequence, only having themselves to spend time with felt like torture. I'm gonna admit, I often felt like this too during my early teen days. But over time I learned to find peace in alone-time. I started taking long walks, buying groceries and cooking for myself, drawing and reading books. Okay, newspapers. Okay, gossip magazines. But all these solitary activities helped to ease my mind. They gave me the time I needed to get to know myself properly. I figured out where I really stood in life and where I wanted to go. Having someone else around can be nice, but you have to know how to be your own person.

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❤ Be Kind To Yourself ❤

Eat well, exercise if you'd like to, drink a lot of water and try to squeeze in the sleep your body needs. Get out of bed and take a shower, even if you go straight back to bed afterwards, I promise you will feel better. And also, allow yourself to heal. If you notice you're in any kind of discomfort, be it mentally or physically, reach out to a professional. You should never feel like you deserve to be miserable.

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❤ Strip That Down ❤

Say whaaaat. I know, I know, it sounds stupid. But personally, wearing less more often (at least at home) really helped me to feel more comfortable in my own skin. I do know a bunch of things that I would like to change about the way I look, but treating my body like an accomplice rather than an enemy felt like an important step. I would really like to get rid of that belly pouch that I have, but seeing it every day cured me from hating it. We're cool now. Instead of aggressively trying to throw her out, we compromised on getting along until she moves out and I find a new tenant, hopefully called abs. A silly way to describe something that seriously helped me feel better about myself.

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❤ Allow Yourself To Be Human ❤

"Joy, you're getting progressively more cryptical with these titles." I know, that's kinda my thing, not sorry. We all have annoying habits or personality traits. I am very moody, I cry easily and I have a disgusting passion for belching. I know, ew. But I am also a very supportive person, and my friends cherish me for being honest but kind. Probably also for my extensive repertoire of bad puns and vine references, but that's another story.
You don't have to be perfect. You're neither a robot nor a doll. Allow yourself to laugh out loud, talk a lot, get angry at that nosy guy, stand up for your opinion and say No. You can be a good person while still having bad days. You don't have to be nice to everyone and you sure as heck don't owe anyone anything. There's no right way to be a girl, or a boy. Just be yourself.

(Don't use this as an excuse to be unfoundedly mean though. Everyone's just trying to live their own life, don't purposely make it harder for someone.)

Image by Xenia73

❤ Do Some Spring Cleaning ❤

Literally and figuratively. Every once in a while I like to sit down with a nice cup of coffee and think to myself "what do I really want in life? what do I need? what makes me happy?" and once I've finished my cup, I start cleaning. I clear out my wardrobe first. Move on to the junk in my shelves and cabinets, then to my fridge, and then to my phone. I delete apps I don't need, unfollow and even block people I don't like anymore. I delete excess pictures from my gallery and update my spotify. It sounds mundane, but freeing yourself from all the baggage you're carrying can feel incredibly satisfying. Don't cling onto your past. Sometimes we're so focused on what we can't change anymore, that we forget to look at what we can. The future is yours. Use it.

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❤ Treat Yourself ❤

Everybody's favorite category. Mine too. I really enjoy this cut-toxic-people-out-of-your-life-and-put-on-a-face-mask mentality. But treating yourself doesn't have to consist of korean sheet masks and lighting yankee candles. Even though it can, because those things really aren't overrated.
But treating yourself can mean anything that benefits your body or soul, or both, in the best case. For me personally, treating myself means taking my dog on a long walk, cooking myself some delicious one-pot-pasta (because I'm lazy and cheap), and curling up on the couch to watch Gilmore Girls or Grey's Anatomy. Or maybe all of the Jurassic Park movies. The duality of man.
Maybe to you, treating yourself means spending the day with your family, taking a good nap, or binge-watching youtube videos while eating some good ol' Ben and Jerry's. It's up to you, and the sole prupose is to make you feel good.
(P.s.: If your weapon of choice is online shopping, I'd recommend looking for coupons first. I told you, I'm cheap.)

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❤ Don't Rush It ❤

I honestly wish loving yourself was as easy as making crêpes, because that's really easy. But instead of following a set recipe you have to try things out on your own, see what works best for you. Surround yourself with things and people that make you happy. Take your time. Your jouney may look like a flight of stairs, or like the rainbow road from mario kart, and both are fine. Fall. Get up. Try again. I believe in you, and hope you do too!

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