Valentine’s Day is coming. Can you feel love?

This holiday is all about showering others with affection… and usually more roses and chocolate than they know what to do with. But what about you? We’re often so wrapped up (quite literally) in getting that special someone the perfect gift or preparing the perfect dinner that we forget about the person in our life who deserves the most love: ourselves.

We’re not saying you should be selfish here. It’s quite the opposite: in order to love someone else to the fullest, you must first truly love yourself first. This idea comes from the Tibetan teaching of Metta bhavana, a loving-kindness meditation based on Buddhist traditions. It’s all about cultivating love for oneself and others.

Embracing unconditional love means extending warmth to those around us (strangers, friends, family, or significant others), not expecting anything in return. It doesn’t depend on whether they (or you) deserve it or not. This is key, especially with self-care.

Maybe you need a reminder that you are worthy of love for just being you, nothing more. So this Valentine’s Day, we want to try something new. We hope you join us. Whether you are single, committed, or somewhere in between, it doesn’t matter. What counts is that the days leading up to February 14th are spent showing yourself some love. Here’s how.

Over the next 5 days, try practicing this loving-kindness meditation each day before Valentine’s Day arrives:

Sit somewhere quiet and cozy. Take in a deep breath, and then exhale everything out, releasing any stress, tension, or worries. It might take more than one breath to fully relax, so take as many as you need until you feel calm and peaceful, breathing into the places where there’s tension or sadness.

Now, close your eyes or focus your gaze on one thing that represents love and warmth to you. Imagine yourself, your face, your soul.
Inhaling deeply, say or think, “I am beautiful.”
Exhale, “I am enough.”
Inhale, “I am filled with light.”
Exhale, “I am surrounded with love.”

Repeat this sequence as many times as you need for it to sink in and ring true. Then, and only then, send those thoughts out to others. This could be friends, family, lovers, or even strangers. Hold their faces in your mind.

Inhale, “You are beautiful.”
Exhale, “You are enough.”
Inhale, “You are filled with light.”
Exhale, “You are surrounded with love.”

By loving yourself, you build the skills to love those around you that much more. Centering your mind on these phrases will influence the thoughts you think about yourself, and the way you speak to people around you. You might even slip-up and actually tell someone, without even thinking twice, “Hey, you are enough. And I love you.”