Love yourself before you love others

Valentine’s Day without a date is not much fun, but going solo is the only way to fly on Singles Awareness Day, Feb. 15, and International Flirting Week, Feb. 15-21.

Singles Awareness Day is all about celebrating self and loving life as a single person, while Flirting Week is about celebrating the art of the flirt, whether it be flirting for fun or to find a romantic partner.

“The most important person you can show love to would be yourself,” said Susan LeBron, Chula Vista-based author of

“No Fig Leaves Allowed: Getting Emotionally Naked,” a self-help book on relationships. “If you don’t love yourself you can’t love someone else effectively.”

But singles don’t have to shut all the curtains and hide behind locked doors on Valentine’s Day with nothing but Netflix and comfort food to keep them company.

“Be your own Valentine. Take yourself out to dinner,” said LeBron. “Let Valentine’s Day be a day of valuing yourself and thinking about what you are looking for in a potential Valentine. Be the best person you can be to draw those people to you. And you know, have a good time.”

While flirting and dating are supposed to be a good time, they can be a source of stress for many people. But it is important to keep some perspective and know that a bad date won’t kill you.

“Asking someone out is always kind of an anxiety provoking thing,” said Eastlake marriage and family therapist Jeff Palitz. “People fear rejection a lot and the reality is that being rejected sucks, but it’s not the end of the world. And people tend to feel better about the things they do, even if it doesn’t work out, than they do about the things theywish they’d done but didn’t.”

So if you are interested in someone romantically, take a chance during Flirting Week and try not to think about the crushing social pressure to pair with someone for life. Because all you can do is be yourself and hope that the person you want will want you back.

“People need to remember that it’s just one day, and the things you do on every other day of the year are just as important if not more important than the thing you do on that day,” said Palitz.