Valentine’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world, although it is not a holiday in most of them. The first references to this holiday began as celebrations to one or more early Christian saints named Valentinus. The earliest associations with romantic love were from the Middle Ages and the writer Geoffrey Chaucer, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. In 18th-century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines”).

For many of us have mixed feelings about this holiday, perhaps from childhood rejections and quantifying our worth by the number of “little envelopes” we received. When we became older, it became all about “romance” and that special someone; or someone we wished was ours. Over the years, the holiday grew to huge commercial proportions with sales of chocolates and flowers.

This year think about what you love. Especially the small playful things that make you smile. Not thinks that we all love, like our family or friends, those little things that thrill and tickle us. Then add to that what you love about yourself. By making these small declarations your heart grows and the love you cultivate spills out and shines onto others in a great circle. We’re so busy looking for someone to love us that we forget about the one person we need to love first—ourselves. Make this your valentine to yourself.

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