It’s the day after Valentine’s Day and while some are buzzing with happiness, others may be crippled with loneliness, so I decided to write about the seasonal pressures and the importance of self-love at this time.
The 14th of February has always been that one day people choose to go out of their way, making elaborate gestures to show their love. In fact, I can remember the hype of Valentine’s Day from as early as Primary School. Many of us received cards in our trays from ‘secret admirers’ in an attempt to make us feel special. Come to think of it, I’m surprised that it was such a big deal at such a young age. What did we really know about Valentine’s Day back then?
In High School, I can still picture some of the guys waltzing into school with single roses and boxes of chocolates from the local shop – handing them to their ‘chicks’ (yes, that’s what us girls were called back then), with pride and conviction. After school, I remember there being a sea of red – the buses and local high streets full of girls carrying roses, boxes wrapped in red ribbon and red heart-shaped balloons.
I can still recall Valentine’s Day as a 15 year old girl. Although the day didn’t go to plan at first, I still ended up receiving a nice card, along with a cute teddy bear holding a heart with ‘I Love You’ written on it (similar to the image above). In fact it was even sprayed with my favourite perfume at the time: Britney Spears’ Fantasy. I remember the scent remained for many months after that. To be honest, when I think about it, most girls wore that fragrance back in the day. It was either Fantasy or Versace Red Jeans. If you had those fragrances, you were ‘popping’ – trust me!
Even as an adult, Valentine’s Day still appears to be that one special day for most people. I’m sure many of you have had that early February shopping experience, where you simply went out for a few essentials and whilst walking down the aisles of your local supermarket; you encountered all of the Valentine’s Day paraphernalia. From the cards, flowers, special offers, heart-themed chocolates and even heart-shaped fruit (okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but you get the point)!
Whilst Valentine’s Day is celebrated by many – especially couples, there are still many others who dread the 14th of February. Some even probably dread the few days after it due to being constantly bombarded with images of how couples spent their day. In addition to that, thanks to social media, it can feel like there’s no escape from feeds and timelines flooded with Valentine’s Day videos and photos. Some people would much rather deactivate their accounts until the hype has died down and I can’t say I blame them. Even whilst being in a relationship, I was never a Valentine’s Day fanatic. Yes, receiving gifts and being shown love and appreciation is great, but the 14th of February is not the only day for that. I believe we should make every effort to show love to those we care about all throughout the year, since life is too short.
Loneliness is a real struggle for many – both young and old, male and female. For those who are single and may be feeling isolated, know that you are not alone in how you feel. Don’t feel pressured to be in a relationship just because everyone else seems to be. As cliché as it sounds, if it’s meant to be, your time will come, so appreciate the time you have alone and use it as a chance to develop personally, spiritually, emotionally and physically (I’m also talking to myself here)!
If there’s one thing I’ve learned during this season of growth, it is to be comfortable on my own. When we learn to enjoy our own company, we become more content with who we are as individuals and where we are in life. Be proud of yourself! I’m proud of my accomplishments despite the many obstacles I’ve faced. Finding solace in solitude enables us to learn far more about ourselves than we can while being ‘attached’ to someone else. We discover who we truly are when we spend time reflecting on our own and in the presence of God. It can be extremely tough at times, but I have come to realise that it’s a necessary process. More importantly, if we fail to love ourselves wholly on our own, how can we expect anyone else to love us completely?
Though it may appear that everyone else found someone to eat with this Valentine’s Day, whilst you didn’t and you feel overlooked, believe that you are still a valuable human being. You may be lost and confused – wondering why you’re still single when you possess all the qualities that most people search for; but don’t be defeated. Although it seems unfair, I truly believe that there’s a reason and season for everything. Sometimes it’s even harder when we don’t have the answers as to why, but it’s crucial to focus on building ourselves up and living our purpose during times of uncertainty.
Don’t worry if you weren’t able to find someone to eat with. Eat and celebrate yourself – everyday – you deserve to! Consider the fact that all you have to offer may just be ‘too much’ for some people to handle, but only for those who aren’t meant for you. That doesn’t mean you’re not worth it. Sometimes we question our worth based on how many people fail to love us. The presence or absence of someone in our lives, does not define or determine our worth. Let’s try to remember that – not only on Valentine’s Day, but always.
According to dictionary.com:
Loneliness is feeling “destitute of sympathetic or friendly companionship” and support.
Solitude is “the state of being or living alone. E.g. to enjoy one’s solitude.”
I’m in the process of learning how to turn my loneliness into solitude. Writing and reflecting are collectively a very big part of that. It enables me to process my thoughts and feelings in a healthy way, with no interruptions. My solace in solitude comes from utilising peaceful moments as opportunities to be productive and creative; improving my state of mind and overall wellbeing.
Even though days like Valentine’s Day can reinforce our insecurities, and cause us to focus on what and who we don’t have, we should still appreciate all the blessings we do have even more – no matter how small they may seem. If you’re still breathing and you have the opportunity to reflect and work on becoming a better you, that’s a blessing. I appreciate each day that I wake up, no matter how bleak things may look around me. Despite the challenges, being alone isn’t a curse, but can be considered a blessing in many cases.
Yesterday I felt at peace. For the first time in a long time, I have found solace in solitude.
To those who can relate to this post, I hope that you can find solace in solitude too.