Whether you are feeling lonely, working through rough patches, or stressing over what to get for your new boo — Valentine’s Day can induce a lot of heartache, rather than the rush of being head over heels in love. As for me, I’m just getting out of a six-year relationship. It was also my first, with a boy I met in our junior year of high school. Needless to say, my heart is still picking up the pieces.
Personally for us, Valentine’s Day was one of the less important occasions, compared to our anniversary and birthdays. Still my thoughts wander, reminding myself of that person and the times we shared. I’ll be running errands and minding my own business. Then something mundane as a stranger’s jacket can trigger a flood of memories. And I’m left breathless as I am bowled over by the wave of emotions washing over me. Tiny as it is, Cupid’s arrow is one hell of a double-edged sword.
If you’re coming out of a relationship as I am or still working through one, it can be hard to keep your head up during this time. It’s one day out of the whole year, although businesses like to say otherwise as they deck their halls out well in advance. Yet it is one day out of a whole year. You can get through this. Others may lament how Valentine’s Day emphasizes how alone they feel, which is completely understandable. How could it not when you are being bombarded by images of happy endings and ever-lasting love? As much as these messages are being thrown in your face, it really is okay to be single during this time, and you can find happiness in it.
“You’d think that people would have had enough of silly love songs / But I look around me and see it isn’t so / Some people wanna fill the world with silly love songs / And what’s wrong with that?” – Paul McCartney, “Silly Love Songs”
No matter if you have been in a relationship or have yet to experience one, being single is an opportunity to grow and learn more about yourself. Navigating young adulthood is easily a time of flux and transition. Figuring out who you are, however, gives you a better understanding of what you want for yourself. With that comes a better understanding of who you would want to share your life with. You deserve that time to yourself, and as hard as it may be to see sometimes, it can be an exciting time of possibilities.
To further spin the holiday on its head, I’d also say instead celebrate those you love in your life. Sometimes the best way to make yourself feel good is making others feel good. Show others how much you care about them. It can make this Hallmark holiday all the more fun when you have things to plan. Instead of trying to fight against it, have it lift you up instead.
As I’m still reeling from my own fall from love, I try to remind myself that there are things to smile about. For example, I am a big fan of stationary, and I always come out with more greeting cards than I intend on getting. I can’t help but not be drawn in by a card that has some cute design or well-said message, thinking it’d be a perfect sentiment for a friend in mind — even if the next special occasion isn’t for months out ahead. This tendency of mine kicked in last week, when I stopped by Target on a completely separate mission. As if that trip was going to be any different. One detour into the land of pink and red later, I came out with a Parisian card set for my girl friends scattered across the country in addition to a Despicable Me Minion card pack for the kids I coach. Also no shame in admitting to grabbing a pack of Dove chocolate as a little TLC for myself.
Here are a few other ways you could make V-Day into your day:
1) Relax with a movie/TV show marathon. I’d just recommend perhaps not of the romcom variety, especially if you think that might bring in some emotional baggage.
2) Plan/host a party for you and your friends. Bust out the pinata, and let Jennifer Garner show you how it’s done.
3) Do an activity that will get you out of the house. If you don’t already have a go-to one, there is always a Groupon/Living Social deal that can help spark some ideas. Wine tour, anyone?
4) Learn a new dessert recipe and share the goods with others. Or even better, learn it together!
5) Spend time with those you care about — whether it’s friends, pets, family, co-workers.
Whatever suits you to get through the holiday, use it to practice some self-care for yourself during this time. Remember that you are not and will not end up alone. You have those in your life who absolutely think the world of you. Celebrate them being in your life and you in theirs because You Matter.