Can I get a show of hands, please; does the thought of Valentine’s Day make you feel sad or depressed? Well, you’re not alone. Your box of chocolates for one is actually quite a large party. Match.com surveyed 500 men and woman and found that 32% of them dreaded the day as well. But, what about the other 68% of these single, looking-for-love-because-Mr-and-Mrs-Right-haven’t-shown-up-yet risk takers? They love it. Yes, you read right. An overwhelming majority of single men and women look forward to Valentine’s Day, indulge, and help fill Mr. Hallmark’s pocket, L-O-V-E it. Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to join the movement, and the reality of the occasion. You too can and absolutely should enjoy yourself on Valentine’s Day.
Being bombarded by the media with anything can be overwhelming. “I approve this message.” But while 364 days out ofthe year, you aren’t necessarily aware of your fabulous, single self, all the lovey-dovey fluffiness can surface some hidden issues that you are either subconsciously dealing with, or in denial of, and rather not deal with all together. The “VDay sting” is a feeling of isolation (“everyone is in a relationship but me”), low self-worth (“what’s wrong with me?”) and can cause you to be depressed. If this day is the day when lovers reconnect, take time to say I love you, and spoil each other with gifts. This is one day out of the year where, as a community, and as a nation, we come together to tell our loved ones how much they mean to us. It’s imperative that the love be felt whether you are single, a child, a parent, or a gushy honey-mooner oblivious to other people’s level of comfort around public displays of affection.
Here are 3 tips to embracing and enjoying Valentine’s Day while being single:
1) First things first: Make plans! Everyone is celebrating, you should too. According to an article in Time magazine by Samantha Grossman called ‘Valentine’s Day 2012, by the numbers’, $126.03 is the ‘average expected amount, PER PERSON, that Americans will shell out for the holiday.’ That’s a long weekend cruise with the girls, or a road trip to an unknown destination. Take it further, always wanted to learn to paddleboard? Sign up for classes with your group of friends and gift yourself the expansion of your mind, comfort zone, and athletic ability. You can also go the old-fashioned route, especially if you’re not in the mood to watch love bloom in a restaurant, and invite your single girlfriends over for a Sex in the City marathon evening, order take-out with extra chocolaty dessert, and extra bubbly champagne. You can play games, share memories, and focus on what’s important: love and laughter. Laughter is like medicine to the soul. And so is giving. Donate your portion of Valentine’s Day to a family, or a couple, or a kind voice singing love songs on a street corner. Who says the spirit of the season has to end on New Year’s?
2) Second, count the blessings of single-hood! You have the freedom of choice. Blind date? Sure. Time with the girls? Why not. Dinner for Mom and her German Shepherd Fido? No better reason. You can get dressed up to impress or you can let your hair down and swim in some baggy clothing for an evening. And don’t be ashamed to join the 15% of women who will send themselves flowers.
3) Third, attack your bucket list! According to Grossman’s statistics, 82% of people would rather have an experience than a gift. Enjoy the fact that you can explore anything this year without the responsibility of planning for anyone else. This might take some extra arrangements, but take advantage and transform that yearly, daunting 14th of February into an annual mile marker of your happiness, regardless of your relationship status. The Eiffel Tower isn’t ever going to pick up and walk into your back yard. Sky-diving or canvas painting won’t send you an invitation to reserve the date. Let Valentine’s Day be the day you pull out that list and invite yourself to the world’s doorstep.
Human beings have the powerful asset of control to change their thinking. Allow the space in your heart and mind to be occupied by serene love for yourself, for your life, and for those in it, instead of victimizing thoughts and unnecessary turmoil. Give yourself permission to let go of the pain caused by negative Valentine’s Day experiences, or built up stress for the holiday, and embrace the possibilities of the here and now. Valentine’s Day can be just any other regular day if you want it to be but it can also be the day you decide to live life on your terms.
About the Author: Joann Venant, Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern focuses on what it means to be single, date smart, and teaches single men and women to love themselves and find satisfaction in their own independence. She also works with teens to develop healthy relationships among theirpeers and family as well as overcoming life’s pressures and improving low self-esteem.