Why has the tradition of exchanging valentines persisted for more than a century? The truth is, people like being complimented, even if it is a corny, canned compliment wrapped up in a joke. It feels good to be given verbal evidence, written or spoken, that someone likes something about you. And that is all a valentine is, really, a note that says, “I like you and here is why.”

Complimenting someone not only feels good to the receiver; it makes the giver feel good and reinforces positive feelings toward the person being complimented. Telling your wife “You are so beautiful” for instance, not only makes your wife feel happier and makes you feel good for making her happy, but it actually increases her beauty in your eyes. Telling a child that they are kind makes you treat them more kindly. Letting a co-worker know that you appreciate the work they do helps you to notice more clearly how well they do their work. The giver and the receiver are both changed by the positive words.


The 10 Day Valentine Challenge multiplies the benefits of compliments times ten.

Here is how it goes:

Step 1: Select a receiver. This could be your spouse, romantic interest, parent, sibling, child, friend, or anyone else you love.

Step 2: Write down ten things you like about that person. Try starting statements with “You are” or “You always.”

Step 3: Turn each compliment into an individual note. This can be as simple or as complicated as suits your personality and your time limitations. Remember, handwriting on plain paper slips is superior to the most elaborate design that stays in your head because you never had time to carry it out.

Step 4: Deliver a valentine note to your loved one each day from tomorrow until Valentine’s Day. I recommend picking the same delivery method each day to help you remember to follow through. Leaving the note on the person’s pillow, slipping it into their hand as they walk out the door, placing it on the car windshield, or just handing them the valentine first thing in the morning are all great options. If your loved one is not within hand’s reach, you could save all the compliments in individual draft emails to send each day, drop one a day in the mailbox, or even send them in texts. Whatever method you choose, make the sending/giving as automatic as possible so you don’t get a chance to procrastinate, forget, or chicken out.

And that’s it! You are welcome to repeat this challenge with as many people as you desire. I plan on creating daily valentines for my children, my spouse, and my mom. Come back and tell me how your challenge went, and I will share my experience as well.