Valentines Day. The annual celebration of love. Or as some like to call it, “singles awareness day.” If you fall into that last category…STOP IT!!! Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to downplay how difficult it is to be surrounded by happiness when you are alone. I get it! Been there, done that! What I’m trying to do here, is reshape the way we see this lovely day!
Let me tell you some fact's here. I just looked up “Valentine’s Day” on the trusty old Urban Dictionary. 99% of the responses sounded something like this, “The worst day of the year. A day to make single people even more depressed.” Then I turned to some slightly more reliable sources and found some eye-opening statistics. According to ListVerse, 40% of people have negative feelings towards Valentine’s Day; and 1 in 10 young adults admit to feeling lonely, insecure, and depressed on Valentine’s Day. Next and scariest of all, IBT reported that on Valentine’s Day alone, the suicide hotline receives upwards of 200+ more calls (per state) than a usual day. 75% of suicide attempts are attributable to relationship problems. And finally, Valentine’s Day marks the beginning of a suicide cycle, which generally increases in intensity until April.
Okay, gory I know. But I wanted to catch your attention. We are placing SO much emphasis on other’s providing us happiness, that we are willing to end our lives when we don’t have that. I think we have seriously misplaced our focus during this season!
The term I prefer most, when referring to this holiday we celebrate on February 14 is: LOVE Day! I prefer this because it says nothing about ‘romantic relationships’, special date nights, or chocolate and flowers. It is simply LOVE. This year I hope you'll choose to focus on this term and on the most important kind of love there is... Self-Love!
Going back to my own story, I can tell you firsthand that relying on someone else for happiness is the surest way to find misery. Growing up, I always spent Valentine’s Day with my family and was really indifferent towards it. High school hit and I became a little more annoyed each year as my friends started getting boyfriends and I was stuck with my mom as my secret admirer! (love you though, mom) I graduated, headed to Utah State, and met S! Finally, I had a Valentine! To be honest, I have no idea what that first Valentine’s Day together looked like, but I knew I had someone to be with and that was all that mattered! The next year we were married and we had a typical “go to dinner and exchange gifts” sort of day! But a few months later, my marriage ended and I came to relate to all of the statistics above. It wasn’t necessarily Valentine’s Day, but I suddenly realized that I was completely alone. I had nobody to love me, I was miserable, depressed, and the 75% began to make sense! For so long I had put all of my self-worth in S. I didn’t know who I was or what color I even liked without him by my side. I didn’t love me without him! It was then that I realized “singles awareness day” was no longer a funny little Instagram caption…something seriously needed to change!
Mindset truly has the power to change everything, and it’s what will change your perspective this Valentine’s day! (single or not)
Society has essentially given us 2 options: be single and miserable, or in a relationship and happy. But there has got to be something more; those simply can’t be the only 2 options! So I began reflecting, what about single and happy? What an epiphany, right?
So here I am today, my very own Valentine!!
Who ever said Valentine’s Day was for romantic’s only anyways? It’s not; it’s for LOVE! In my opinion, self-love is the most important and difficult to acquire form of love out there. I’m not talking the “yeah I love my hair today” kind of love. I’m talking about the deep rooted, confident, and unconditional love we develop for ourselves over time and nurturing! The kind of love that allows you to hold your head high in any situation life throws your way and be proud of who you are, even on your hard days!
So how do we do it? We can say it all we want, but until we learn how to love ourselves and be confident in our situation, we will still be destined to post “single awareness” day selfies on our Instagram stories forever!
1. Write yourself a love letter: I mean, really get into it! Express appreciation for all your body allows you to do. Express love for your eyes that see, your arms that comfort others, your mouth that can smile, and all the other wonderfully amazing parts of you. Write it as if you were writing it to someone else. Be genuine, kind, and detailed in your confession of love to yourself! Put it in an envelope and store it away to bust out next Valentine’s Day, or any other day throughout the year when you are feeling unloved!
2. Get dressed up: Studies have shown that ‘dressing the part’ can actually boost your mood and help your perform better. Just as actors dress their part during rehearsal, we should dress the part during our learning stages of self-love! Dress like the strong, confident, self-loving person you are working to become. Once you are dressed to impress, put yourself out there; buy yourself dinner, head to the mall, or treat yourself to a manicure! Whatever it is you decide to do, spoil yourself, be seen, and believe your ideal!
3. Discover YOU: Now is the time to find out who you really are and set that in stone! Doing so will ensure that no matter who or what comes up, you are confident in yourself and you do not rely on anyone for happiness! Do what you love to do! This might be a hobby you haven’t had time for in a while (painting, sports, running, crochet, etc) or something you’ve always wanted to try. Do it! Spend time outdoors and in meditation. This is something I never really believed until I gave it a shot myself. Spend time with yourself discovering and falling in love with the little details and quirks that someone will one day come to love with you!
4. Get outside of yourself:If you read my post from last week, you know how much I attribute service and ‘getting outside of myself’ to my healing. I truly believe that when you focus on loving and serving others, you find the most peace and happiness in life, which will in turn lead you to love and appreciate yourself that much more!
5. February 15: In case you didn’t know…all of the heart shaped candy goes on sale this day so be sure to get on that. It’s sure to bring happiness. ;)
These are just a few steps, but some that I find most important! Like I said before, self-love is the most difficult love to give, and accept! But as you learn to continuously participate in the love affair with yourself, you will come to find that all other love and happiness in life will fall into place!
Lastly, I want to encourage you to enjoy this phase. Next year you could be in a relationship, or you could still be growing the relationship with yourself, but regardless, this is a time you will never get back! 10 years down the road when you have 3 kids and a spouse, you will look back on this Love Day as the one that set the stage for the lifelong love you now possess! If you are having an extra hard time feeling the love this week, I am just a phone call, DM, or email away! Although it is a SELF-love journey, we don’t need to walk the path alone! I am always here if you need a reminder of how amazing you are!
I choose me as my Valentine this year. Will you choose you?
Happy Love Day, lovers!