Valentine’s Day has always been very special to me. How could it not be? It’s my natal day and my last name is Hart. People often  joked with my mom that she should have called me Valentine. My mother would respond, “Why do I need to state the obvious? Her last name says it all, and it wasn’t planned.”

When I went to elementary school the calendar had set holidays for parties, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. The teachers could also select several optional days, such as Halloween, to hold a party in their classroom. I would always explain that we had to have a party on Valentine’s Day, especially since my mother would provide treats for everyone. I would then share that it was also my birthday. Not very subtle, but subtlety has never been my strong suit. When I graduated to junior high my mother took me aside and let me know that she had no intention of providing treats for six classes of 30 students each going forward. I agreed; it was asking a bit much.

When my husband and I began dating, I explained to him that if he was truly interested in me, he would figure out a way to recognize both Valentine’s Day and my birthday. Rolling the two holidays together was grounds for relationship termination. I have been blessed that he has always been highly creative in celebrating the two as separate events on the same day.

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With all this history in mind, today I realized there is another way of approaching Valentine’s Day. In speaking with a colleague, formerly married but now single, I ended our conversation with Happy Valentine’s Day. She said she didn’t really celebrate the day as she didn’t currently have someone special in her life. My comeback, “Yes you do, yourself! Celebrate your relationship with you, and Happy Loving Yourself Day.” She laughed, which was my intent, and said the day now had a whole new meaning. Happy Loving Yourself Day!

So what are some ways you can celebrate Happy Loving Yourself Day?

  • There’s the most obvious; pamper yourself in some special way. Whether it’s with a friend or by yourself, head to a nearby spa for a massage, back rub, facial, mani/pedi, or just a luxurious soak in your bathtub. Don’t forget the heart-shaped rubber ducky!
  • You could also indulge your senses with a walk in nature, shopping, or selecting a favorite part of your city to explore. My favorite is to go to the Marin Headlands in the Bay Area, sit on a rock outcropping, and be mesmerized by the ocean swirling against the rocks below. It is so secluded that I feel like the only person on the planet.
  • Indulge yourself by spending time thinking about all the great experiences you have enjoyed or plan for future ones. Pull out old photos, scrapbooks, letters, or whatever memorabilia you use to remember past adventures. Better yet, plan for a future special travel destination or activity you’ve wanted to take. Set dates in your calendar and book that adventure.
  • Celebrate those special friends in your life that remind you how special you are. Spend 30 minutes (or longer) calling several of them. Not because you have something specific to talk about, but because you just wanted them to know you were thinking about them and appreciate their presence in your life.
  • Spend some time loving those areas of your body, life, etc that you normally try to ignore or just pretend don’t exist. As an example, I have always disliked my thighs. I think they are just too big (think wide) for my body, would like them to be longer, and have a hard time finding jeans that will fit my proportions. Yet when I started loving this body part, it changed my whole mindset. My comments changed, too. Now I recognize my thighs in a positive light. I’m glad they’re so strong, that these powerful muscles can carry my body for long periods of time. I love the way they are so straight, support my knees to bend, and how they remind me of my Grandma (who had a similar body build).

In the town of Guanajuato, Mexico, near the Teatro Juarez stands a sculpture by José Luis Cuevas entitled la Giganta. The first time I saw it I was a little taken aback. What a misshapen piece of blob, and why did the artist do that to the female form? The second time I realized it reminded me of Pablo Picasso’s Guernica; a deformed and misshapen figure that enabled me to move beyond the precise form to the emotional level underneath. And the third time, I marveled at how something that looks (or feels) out of shape and in need of loving (like my own body parts), can be lovingly transformed when I re-focus on their gifts and support. Happy Loving Yourself Day!

ACTION: What actions can you take to celebrate Happy Loving Yourself Day? I would love to hear your insights.

Kathy Hart’s driving passion is human change and transformation. Her goal is to provide professional women in midlife (ages 40 – 65) with the support and resources needed to re-imagine and lead even more abundant, joy-filled and purpose-driven lives. If you are a woman wanting to reclaim your voice, realize a long-held dream, or just live your life to the fullest, take concrete action by contacting Kathy at The choice is yours!

Services that Kathy offers:

  • 1:1 coaching to support the next journey into your midlife transition
  • Trusted advisor for leaders navigating work changes and requiring an expert guide
  • Speaking and workshops on human change and transformation
  • Small group work and team development to boost the group’s performance