Although it’s great to have something of a national day to celebrate love, it’s also important to remember that this is in essence a commercial holiday intended to perpetuate a consumerist culture and through successful impacts of advertising campaigns, people not swept up in the Valentine’s day hype can end up feeling unworthy or unloved.
Those of us who find ourselves single on this day should resist the urge to feel bewildered, especially after viewing the ubiquitous social media posts of loving couples airbrushed to perfection, flowers that look like they could never die, gourmet chocolates (in heart themed boxes of course), plush teddy bears and other proclamations of love. Now, I don't mean to be cynical or suggest that all of these displays are fake, but it’s worth remembering not all that glitters is gold and half of what is shown on the internet is exaggerated for effect.
At times when we feel desperate for a relationship or for someone to show us attention and love it could be because we are missing something within ourself. Because nothing last forever, if we do find someone else to love us, if and when the relationship ends or changes we are still left as we were before and maybe even in worse shape. Now, if we are complete and satisfied with ourself, any relationship we end up in, will be in a way, an overflowing of our cup so that if it lasts it will be good and if it doesn’t last, whatever is removed will not be taken away from us, as we will still remain whole. But how do we become whole to begin with? How do we learn to love and be satisfied with ourselves? To love yourself doesn't mean looking in the mirror and smiling. It goes much deeper than that.
Today, I declare February 14th a SelfLove Day & better yet, the start of a journey towards better self knowledge. Without the distraction of a partner, I can't think of a better time than this to dedicate to yourself. Take some time today doing something you want to do but don’t usually take the time for because you’re to busy taking care of others. Is it a manicure, a face mask or simply some quiet time to read a book? It doesn’t have to be boring - romance isn’t just for couples. A candle lit dinner isn’t enjoyable just because there’s someone siting across the table from you. The ambience of low light and the aroma and tastes of a well cooked meal is something to be enjoyed in and of itself. The same goes for for an evening spent enjoying each moment and deciding to be happy just to be alive.
Of course not everybody wants to spend their entire lives alone and there is nothing wrong with wishing for and looking forward to meeting someone to spend some time or even your life with. But life is meant to be enjoyed, regardless, in every stage and season. So while you wait for Prince Charming to arrive it can’t hurt to dream. Why not make a list of everything you long for in a partner, and have fun with it! And then, to make it even, make a list of everything you want in yourself. What goals do you have, what do you aspire to be? Again this doesn’t even have to be that deep, maybe you want to be more well read, or maybe you want to start keeping your nails manicured. Maybe you want to be more active or maybe you want to create more of a social life. New year’s day isn’t the only time we can make resolutions. As part of this newly declared Day of Self Love, we can explore wishes we have and map ways to achieve them. How about making a list of things you love about yourself? This is enough to give you a confidence boost you need to get out of your comfort zone and achieve things like making new friends, or being more social. These are all suggestions based on my own personal aspirations but you can always tailor to whatever it is you desire.
Another fun solo activity can even be to take a trip down memory lane and remember all the hilarious incidents that happened during your past dating/relationships. I recall once afternoon I decided to go on a date with a guy I met somewhere in Iowa where I was working. The date was on a Saturday afternoon and we were having lunch at a Mexican restaurant. Fifteen minute into the meal someone began shouting at him from the back of the restaurant so he excused himself and got up and left. I sat, confused but hungry and so continued to eat. He would return fifteen minutes later and apologize telling me that he had to go and cook. Turns out he worked in the restaurant kitchen and was sneaking away for our date, but got called back to work. Needless to say it was extremely awkward. He sat and ate some more then got called away again. By this point I had finished my meal and wasn’t keen on sitting alone staring at his unfinished dish and so I politely excused myself reasoning that he was clearly too busy to continue the date. I look back at this now and laugh.
I would like to suggest to anyone reading this that although it may sound trite, it is much better to be alone than in bad company. If you are weary of solitude try and find new ways to enjoy your own company. If you are bored with yourself come up with activities to make your life less boring. This could be in the form of a hobby or learning something new. Like me, you might be guilty of spending way too much time on social media, watching everyone else live their seemingly perfect lives. Chip away from this block of runway time and devote it to something to better yourself. This could be something like taking up knitting, learning new recipes for both meals and beverages or even something ambitious like learning how to code. You never know how little bits of knowledge can help and shape your life long after you’ve acquired them.
So, to everyone who finds themselves alone on a day where partnership and love is being celebrated, remember that love isn’t just reserved for couples, and to be alone doesn’t mean you have to be lonely. If you have any tips on how to survive Valentine’s day alone feel free to share in the comments below!!