Embrace the spirit of the day.
It seems that sometimes holidays, rather than being a cause for celebration, can be a reminder of the things we perceive ourselves to be lacking.
Valentine’s Day is no exception.
On a day when couples are celebrating happiness (or unhappiness, but we won’t go there) together, we can feel left out and bombarded by messages touting the importance and value of romantic love.
This can make us feel bitter, lonely, unimportant or depressed. It can make us lash out at the happy people around us, silently seethe with anger as we begrudge their joy, or just stay in bed and avoid the rawness of the day.
Or maybe we’re just fine with all the love that is being expressed, and we are looking for the opportunity to participate in a way that validates our singleness rather than undermines it.
Valentine’s Day need not be an unwelcome reminder of what we make out to be deficient in our love lives. It can instead be an opportunity to practice gratitude for the love we do have: self-love and the love of friends and family.
Here are a few ways we can celebrate love in all its forms on February 14th.
1. Recognize upsetting emotions and know that they are normal.
Regardless of how we feel about this day, we need to remember that being human means sometimes experiencing unsavory emotions, and that’s okay.
Instead of shaming ourselves, we can do the work and dig deeper, to the root of what is making us feel this way. Maybe we’re angry about the way an ex treated us, or sad that we’re not getting that special someone’s attention. Or perhaps we are feeling that not being in a relationship means that somehow we are inferior; that it’s our fault.
Whatever the cause, understanding it helps us move beyond feelings of jealousy, bitterness, anger, inferiority, and sadness. This doesn’t happen overnight, but if we can accept what we feel and take the time to really know why we feel it, we move from subconsciously driven reaction to conscious action.
2. Exercise a little self-love.
We don’t have to wait around for someone else to treat us nicely; we can do nice things for ourselves. No need to feel less than for eating alone in a restaurant, or buying ourselves flowers or chocolate. True self-love allows us to see our world through new, bright eyes because we are confident and comfortable with who we are. We are no longer seeking external validation.
3. Round up a few good friends.
Sometimes being alone on Valentine’s Day isn’t the best approach; surrounding ourselves with friends can help take our minds off things and remind of us the love we often take for granted. Plan a girls’ (or guys’) night out (or in). Take a group to the spa, or stay in and watch a funny movie. Make a delicious communal meal.
Sing each other love songs.
Society teaches us to value romantic love above all else, so we drive ourselves crazy trying to be perfect and find the perfect mate. But love is exquisite in all its packages, particularly in the bond between two true friends.
4. Do something thoughtful for someone else.
It is said that the best thing to do when we’re feeling down is to try and brighten someone else’s day—chances are others are feeling some of the same things we are.
By making an effort to lift another’s mood we can embrace the spirit of the day; love is about doing, not just feeling. We can send a card to let someone know we’re thinking of them or pay a visit to an old friend. We can even do something for a stranger. Whatever we do, we’ll have the satisfaction of knowing we were responsible for bringing a little more light into someone else’s day.
Being single is not something to be despised or feared. It is a chance for us to grow and have adventure, learning who we are so we can be ready for the right person when he or she arrives.
In the mean time, we can show love, not just on one day, but in everything we do, for that will bring the greatest joy.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Assistant Editor: Kerrie Shebiel/Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: elephant journal archives