It's easy to get carried away with the idea that Valentine's Day is only for couples. But the most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself. When you have a good relationship with yourself, you have more truth in your interactions with people , including family members, friends, and significant others. This allows the people you care about to love you for you instead of an idea of you that you might construct if you do not feel comfortable in your own identity. So in preparation for showing number one some love this Valentine's Day, here's how to cultivate the most important relationship you'll ever have:

1. Learn to care for yourself
Repeatedly putting the needs of others before our own can can lead to stress and resentment, and prevent us from being our best selves. For this reason, it’s important to develop a routine for self-care that helps you to reboot yourself consistently throughout the week. Research has proven that adding self-care into your daily routine reduces stress, decreases the chance of mental and physical ailment, increases productivity, and inspires feelings of happiness. By giving ourselves a daily dose of compassion, we’re able to approach our work and relationships with a clear, happy mind, thus allowing the cycle of positivity to continue.

2. Challenge yourself
By putting yourself in uncomfortable and new situations, you learn your wants, needs, and pain points more thoroughly than if you always do the same old things. Challenge yourself in small ways, such as to keep exercising for a few extra minutes, to work for an extra hour towards something you love, or to cut out sugar for a week. These small acts of challenging yourself add up to a great deal of knowledge about who you are and make you an even stronger, more badass person. We all need a healthy dose of normal stress in our lives, after all. We can only see what we’re really capable of if we make the effort to go over our pre-conceived limits. 

3. Set intentions
An intention will help create more clarity in your life - think of it like drawing a map of where you wish to be - so you can achieve little goals in life. You should set intentions and remind yourself of them every day. Without intention for what we are doing, we lose sight of who we are, and why we do what we do. Having a burning intention will help you to get out of bed, keep going in hard times, and give you the focus and motivation you need to work for what you want. It's more practical to set an intention for the short term rather than the long term. You can still think of the big picture — just divide your long-term intention into a few shorter ones instead. This will help you achieve a grandiose goal in shorter, more easily obtainable segments.

4. Have the confidence to do things alone
If the thought of doing things on your own gives you anxiety, you are not alone! Social anxiety is a very common thing that many of us feel, but few admit to. However, the simple act of doing things alone is incredibly powerful. When you accomplish a task or a big feat on your own, you bond with yourself, just as you would bond with a person you have a wonderful shared experience with. Further, you become stronger, more confident, and more understanding of who you are, which feels amazing.

5. Maintain financial independence
Financial independence is not just about having enough money to cover your expenses. It also means feeling in control of your life. Any extra money you have is yours to spend, save, or invest in the future. You can use your own money however you want, and, as obvious as it seems, that is an accomplishment that will help you feel more confident each day.

We never know what could happen in our lifetime, so it's important to build some self-love to get through the difficult times ahead. Our loved ones can help comfort us, but at the end of the day, we are responsible for picking ourselves up. Click to view our self-love edit for some ideas on what to get to help cultivate a flourishing relationship with yourself.