On February 13th of this year, I delivered a 2 hour workshop on “Connecting with Your Inner Valentine” at Unity Church in San Francisco.

I felt motivated to do this workshop – the day before Valentine’s Day as it is a day a lot of people suffer, rather than feel the love that I believe they are.

According to a recent study done by the University of Washington 18% of Americans don’t care for Valentine’s Day because:

-They feel sad about being single.

-They feel mad about being single.

-They feel sorry for themselves for not having romantic love in their life.

-They feel abandoned, rejected, lonely and unhappy about this day.

Many people feel a sting in or around a painful divorce so while it brings many people like myself JOY, some people hate it.

I understand.

There was a time in my life when I was single and every Valentine’s day I felt lonely and a bit jealous of all the couples out there celebrating and having a good time while I was at home in bed by myself.

I can look back at those early decades  of my life today with a much different perspective.

I wish I had known back then, what I know today.

I now know that suffering on Valentine’s day is an option and that SELF LOVE requires that we lean into our true nature. None of us need to look outside of ourselves to feel good or whole.

What exactly does that mean practically?

While romantic love is important for our health (to those of us who regard it as a high value), using it as a way to determine our happiness will never hold strong.

We must love ourselves first to be able to attract a significant someone in our life and to grow that into something solid.

So while I understand how easy it is to fall into the quicksand of pain and pity about not having a loved one, I also know first hand that all those years sitting around feeling sorry for myself got me nowhere.

Self-love is a daily practice and while Valentines comes every year, it is not intended to torture us.

What I shared with the people in my workshop was that while it is beautiful to have romantic love – self-love is where it all begins – so what I wish you all is the greatest Valentines Day ever. Because you are a loving being with or without a mate and celebrating that comes every day.

Self-love is where it all begins – so what I wish you all is the greatest Valentines Day ever. Because you are a loving being with or without a mate & celebrating that comes every day. @laurafenamore (Click to Tweet!)

And on a personal note, I got married to the love of my life Kathleen on Valentine’s Day in 2004 (our picture is above) and it was the happiest day of my life.

I am proud of making what was once a very sad day for me into one of my favorite days of the year.

I welcome hearing from you.

What does Valentines’ day represent to you?

Please share with us below.

Laura Fenamore, Body Image Expert, Coach and acclaimed Author is on a mission to help women around the world end the constant battle with their bodies and start adoring who they see in the mirror. Her approach walks students and readers through the heartfelt journey to self-love at any size or age by unlocking the secrets to a lifetime of emotional, physical and spiritual health. After overcoming a lifelong battle with addiction, obesity, and eating disorders, Laura released 100 pounds – keeping it off for more than 28 years. She chronicles this journey to self-love and health in her widely acclaimed book, Skinny, Fat, Perfect: Love Who You See in the Mirror. Learn more about Laura’s programs, or invite her to speak by visiting SkinnyFatPertect.com.