Dear Valentine’s Day hopefuls: remember to be good to yourself first and foremost- Amana Walker

We’re all worth spoiling, and we don’t need to wait for this one day a year to do that. But our relationship with ourselves must be strong enough for that to happen, writes Amana Walker

<p>If you want to be (or stay) in a relationship, be kind to yourself (Photo: Getty)</p>

If you want to be (or stay) in a relationship, be kind to yourself (Photo: Getty)

It’s approaching that day again - yes, Valentine’s Day - when the hopes of many hang in the balance.

Some people are dreaming of a proposal, others are hoping for red roses and other displays that show they are loved, and even if we don’t admit it, we’d all like to be sent a mystery card or message from an unknown admirer.

Or is that just me?

Social media adds to the pressure - it’s best not to look.

I mean, who wants to see other people (influencers such as Molly-Mae Hague or Kylie Jenner) surrounded by humongous bunches of roses and fancy champagne when you’re still waiting for something (anything)?

I often see a different picture of the ‘lucky’ people given the flowers and shown the outpouring of love though, and this isn’t the image you would expect to see from someone in a seemingly loved-up relationship. But then, no amount of flowers can hide unhappiness, insecurity, or doubt.

It’s common to see people who are single and very happy, but so many in a relationship and miserable. Sometimes, the roses just won’t cut it.

One fundamental reason is that the relationship you have with yourself is and always will be the most important relationship you will ever have and is a deciding factor in your happiness. But how do you know how strong it is?

Here are a few ways you can put it to the test :

Get clear about what’s important to you

Sure, relationships are about compromise, but that means finding a balance between what you both want.

When you find yourself doing things you don’t enjoy doing for an increasing amount of time, or you have a feeling your priorities are not getting a look in, you know that you’ve put yourself at the bottom of the list.

That needs to change. If it’s important to you, make sure you do it.

Be who you are

Singletons can happily be themselves without a partner casting judgement on how they look, what they are wearing, or how they behave.

When a partner comes along, that can change. Once the ‘honeymoon’ period of getting to know each other is over, the relationship is properly tested.

And if you are ‘failing’ the test because you are regularly getting on his/her nerves you have to question whether you have the right partner for you.

Be respectful, cut each other some slack, know what irritates your partner - but don’t change the essence of who you are.

Stick to your plan

Whether you are ambitious, have a career plan, or you want to have your own place and a dog - stick with it.

Both people in a relationship can want different things, and that’s OK as long as you have some commonality and you are supportive of what the other wants.

Carrie Johnson knew what she was taking on when she met Boris Johnson, Melania Trump on the other hand, didn’t bargain on ending up in the White House (who did?) when Donald became President - and her unhappiness was glaringly obvious.

Know when to quit

As much as we want our relationships to work forever, sometimes it’s not meant to be is it?

It can be devastating when you know deep down that you’ve reached the end of the road, but perhaps you’ve had the best of that relationship and it’s time to move on.

You haven’t failed, it’s more likely that you’ve grown - or grown apart.

Self love is about valuing who you are and being brave enough to reset your life path.

Be your own best friend

We are our own worst critics, and we’d never talk to our best friends as harshly as we talk to ourselves.

Whether you are single or not - listen to your self talk. If you are talking yourself down and don’t believe you’re worthy of being loved, you’ve already put the barriers up.

If you want to be (or stay) single, then live life on your terms and have as much fun (whatever that looks like to you) as you can squeeze out of life.

If you want to be (or stay) in a relationship, be kind to yourself. Always.

We’re all worth spoiling, and we don’t need to wait for this one day a year (or for an admirer) to do that. But our relationship with ourselves must be strong enough for that to happen.

Right, I’m off to buy myself some roses, champagne and my favourite chocolates.

Because why not? Happy Valentine’s Day.

Amana Walker is a performance coach who works with a range of business leaders and sports professionals. More info at www.amanawalker.com

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