I’ve never really liked Valentine’s Day. It’s not because I was traumatized after so many years of finding myself without a plus one on February 14. Although, Facebook can sure make you feel pathetic on that day if you’re riding solo! Nor is it the cheesy spa treatments, bad love notes, overpriced restaurant menus, and cheap chocolate. To be honest, what irritates me most about V-Day is the love thing. On Valentine’s Day, we’re encouraged to show love to people we care about, specifically a romantic partner. For those of us who don’t have a romantic partner at the time, it’s really easy to feel less than. Our insecurities about not feeling like enough are magnified during this time, obviously. Yet, as a member of the Vixen Army, we know that those insecurities are bullshit. A boyfriend, girlfriend, job, money, or even a Valentine’s gift is not going to mend the hole we sometimes feel inside. The outside validation we sometimes seek can only be satisfied by our own love. Logically, we understand that, right? For this reason, we are now told that self-love is the answer. Love yourself and all will be well. On the days we’re sad, all we have to do is give ourselves an internal hug and wha-la, we’re fixed! It all sounds so magical. But what if, we don’t know what love really is? What if, we don’t even know how to love ourselves? Then what? I didn’t grow up in a huggie family or in a I-love-you family. And although I was absolutely loved and shown love in different ways, it seems most often the examples I saw — and probably the examples you saw, too — were always tainted with human imperfection. Love came with expectations, judgments, and disappointments. So when it was time to love myself, I didn’t know where to start. First, I tried what Valentine’s Day tells us to do: fill the void with cheesy relationships, bad love notes, and cheap chocolate. When that didn’t work, I decided to search for my own definition of love. Eventually, I found a starting point for self-love. Love starts with faith. And not the religious kind we’re all so scared about. The faith that we are enough just they we are. The faith that we deserve all of our dreams. The faith that we are worthy of love. That’s where self-love starts. It starts with faith because, even if we can grasp the concept of love, the truth is we’re not sure if it’s for us. Having faith in love is a gesture that says to the universe, “Hmm, I’m not sure about this love thing. I’m not sure I even deserve it, but I’m willing to believe. I’m willing to trust you, anyway.” Faith, on its own, is an act of love. It is the gesture that opens our hearts to both the world and ourselves. Regardless of our circumstances this Valentine’s Day, there’s no greater gift we can give ourselves than faith. Faith in our dreams. Faith in our magical capabilities. Faith in our ability to love others and ourselves. We might not be there just yet, but we believe in ourselves. And that, my friend, is hot, sexy love.