Isn’t putting yourself first, occasionally, great for the self? Of course it is! But, what does “being first” look like? Could it be viewed as women learning to use their voices? Is that an example of putting yourself first? Absolutely. Or even being your own Valentine?

What does it mean to be your own Valentine? Chocolates and flowers? Bubble bath? Massage and mani/pedi? Okay. Any of those would work, right? But…for me, being my own Valentine looks a bit different.

Stepping up to the task. Accomplishing a goal. Feeling satisfied for a job well done. Even fighting the urge to procrastinate, to stay in bed, and hide my face, some days. (We all have those days, right?) Having the inner strength to show up and get it done. Those are the things that make me feel valued, and valuable, to myself.

Self. What is self? The word, defined, represents, “the total, essential, or particular being” (The Free Dictionary by Farlex). So, becoming responsible for that “total, essential” being is a job only we, as women, can accomplish for ourselves. The task of protecting that self is our responsibility, and our right.

Voicing one’s opinion. Standing up for one’s self. Ignoring naysayers. Pushing back, when necessary. Saying, “Yes.” Saying, “No!” Saying, “Enough!” All are empowering. All take women to a place of authority over the self, over circumstances. There are times when we are our only advocates. In the work environment. In the “man’s” world. In the home, even. Women must protect their own selves, and having a voice, in general, allows for higher self-esteem and a sense of value and influence.

A few years ago, I found myself in an abusive relationship. On the surface, we looked like the perfect couple. He was strong and devilishly handsome. I was in awe of him, truthfully. In my eyes, he was a “catch,” and he was mine. But my world was permanently altered the night he “pushed” me to the floor. I was shattered, along with my rose-colored glasses. After, I was bruised, both physically and emotionally. It was then that I realized our relationship was built on fear. Fear kept me from speaking up, for silence equaled peace. Peace meant an even keel was maintained. Silence. My silence. That’s what it took for our relationship to remain safe. But that was not living. Not for me. My “self” was not being true, to me.

No one should have to remain silent to maintain a relationship, be it personal or professional. Speak up, women, for your “self” deserves it. Craves it. Requires it. Having a voice for one’s self is crucial to a happy life. An honest life, within one’s self. So, be your own Valentine, ladies.

You deserve it!

About the Author

GailCastanho-avGail Castanho is presently a business writer, editor, writing coach, and academic tutor in southwest Florida. After teaching writing for over sixteen years, at the high school and college levels, Gail has developed her company, using her writing talents to help the business world with its communications skills. Gail is available, both in-person and remotely, to write anything from resumes, professional profiles, speeches/presentations, marketing copy, communications, and grants, to manuscript editing, writing coaching, and academic tutoring.

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