- Suggestion No. 1: Don’t try to avoid the holiday. As someone who has been single more Valentine’s Days than not, I can tell you the desire to not see ads for flowers, not see giant, red plastic hearts hung from store ceilings, or not see bowls of cheap, chalk-like candy hearts that say “Be Mine” everywhere won’t keep you from seeing them. Just as every year I get tired of Christmas music two days after Thanksgiving (if not sooner), I have learned to embrace it. Just because I don’t want to hear it doesn’t mean that every time I walk in a store, turn on the TV, or even listen to the radio I am not going to hear at least part of a song. Instead of loathing those hearts (or Christmas songs), embrace them. When I hear Christmas songs, what I do is think of the spirit of the song. This does not mean I love every song, but I listen with the heart of a child or from the point of view of the person who composed the song and what led to writing it. The same can be true of Valentine’s Day. I loved taking show boxes to school as a child, making places for all the cards, then picking the perfect card for each person in my class. Don’t view the symbols of Valentine’s Day as reminders you are alone, but as reminders of childhood.
- Suggestion No. 2: Valentine’s Day may have a romantic origin based on the love between two people, but make a date with you. Get a bottle of wine and take a bubble bath, or make yourself dinner and watch your favorite movie. Some of the best dates can be those in which your date is you. Take yourself out for a night on the town and do all the things you enjoy. Remember, in or out of a relationship, we must love ourselves and be comfortable being alone. If a relationship ends, it is ourselves that we are left with, and even when we are with someone, there are times that it is just us. For that reason, we have to learn to enjoy our own company. After all, we like all the same things and enjoy all the same places; what is there to not like?
- Suggestion No. 3: So often, we look at the holidays—not just Valentine’s Day—as days not only to celebrate, but of expectations. I am a romantic, and have been since I was 7 years old and wrote my first love poem (yes, it rhymed). That said, I am not the biggest fan of Valentine’s Day for one simple reason: It is a day where the whole world wants to know “what did you get for/from your partner?” If it isn’t something big, or what others perceive as romantic, you will get that look and head shake, judging you. I don’t think all the romance of a year should be placed on one day. I have always preferred to be surprised with a gift for no reason at all. I also much prefer giving someone flowers or making dinner for no reason other than I wanted to, or knowing my partner had a hard day. Being single on holidays may be hard and can be lonely if you let it be, but there are advantages. For instance: “I don’t have to buy diamond earrings; I can get myself something instead.” I am in no way saying relationships are bad or that romance is. I am simply saying embrace the single life, if that is the life you lead. If you are single, don’t think about what you are missing; think instead of what you are not obligated to do.
- Suggestion No. 4: While Valentine’s Day is often seen as related to romantic love, make it about not just self-love, but platonic love. This is easy to do. Man or woman, gay or straight, old or young, we all have single friends, and chances are when Valentine’s Day rolls around a number of them feel the same desire to avoid the holiday like the plague. This being the case, why not spend that day or evening together? While yes, misery loves company, that is not what this is about. The idea is not to sit around and dwell on the loneliness or lament a lack of a relationship, but to embrace being single. Instead of giving or getting flowers or candy, give each other some “white elephant”-type gift, some goofy thing that no one needs but makes you think of each other. Go out and paint the town, or (if you are like me) hang with a buddy at your favorite dive bar. Make the day not about the lack of a love you can’t imagine being without, but the presence of a friend whose friendship you can’t imagine being without.
Single or coupled up, the fact is no one day should control your happiness or your romance. You will be the same you, have the same value, the same appreciation for things on February 15 as you did on February 13, so why should February 14 be different? Give yourself the break you deserve and judge yourself not on the one day of the year the calendar says “today is for lovers”—instead, remember that every day you need to love yourself.
Inspired by GoodTherapy.org