For better or worse, Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching. Over the last few years, I have referred to Valentine’s Day as a day of celebration for having someone to love. This means buying gifts, gourmet chocolates, going out to a fancy restaurant or preparing an elaborate home cooked meal for my partner. However, during the years that I was single, I referred to Valentine’s Day as Single’s Awareness Day since it was the one day of the year that I was truly aware of my single relationship status. During those years, I was cranky and judging all the couples on my Facebook feed, or I would find a single friend, and we would spend the day together talking about our ideal partners.
The years that I was single were the hardest. I placed so much value on giving my love to another that not having anyone to be with on Valentine’s Day meant there must have been something wrong with me. This belief impacted my mental health, and my self-worth became associated with being loved by another. My self-esteem decreased, and I experienced elevated levels of loneliness. It turned out I wasn’t alone. According to a study performed by Cigna, 61% of the people they surveyed reported feeling lonely and having poor mental health.
I spent many Valentine’s Days as a single person, feeling bad about myself. But something changed after processing my experiences with a close friend. He shared with me that his experience of Valentine’s Day was different than mine. Instead of looking at Valentine’s Day as a day for dedicating my love to someone else, I could look at Valentine’s Day as a day to celebrate self-love. This was a concept I had not thought about! Intrigued by the idea of celebrating and loving myself, I gave it a shot.
Below is a list of some of the things I have tried over the years when I felt single and lonely.
- I made a list of at least three things that I love about myself. This was uncomfortable and quite challenging at first. After I was able to list one or two things I loved about myself, it was easier to recognize other things that I liked about myself.
- I had a spa day. I started a warm bath, lit a candle, turned on music, and turned down the lights. If no one else was going to pamper me, I was going to pamper myself.
- I danced around my apartment to my favorite dance music. I decided I didn’t need a dance partner because I was my own perfect
- I wore clothing that made me feel good. If people asked me who I was looking good for that Valentine’s Day, I was prepared to tell them that I dressed up for myself.
- I ordered my favorite take out meal, bought myself flowers, and had a dinner for myself. I knew I would appreciate my favorite take out.
- I scheduled an appointment with a therapist to address the loneliness I was feeling.
By treating myself the way I would someone I love, I came to realize that I was worth self-love on Valentine’s Day and every other day of the year. Of all of the items on the list, the one I found most helpful long term was finding a therapist to address depression and loneliness, as well as my self-esteem. Should you be interested in starting your own therapy, please feel free to contact us.