So, you’re single. And its Valentines Day.
The thought that you might run into an eye-gazing, hand-holding couple on the way to pick up your take-out dinner makes you want to puke. They’re everywhere, aren’t they, those crazed (and way too happy) lovers? You try to feel content with your singledom, but the thought creeps in that they’ve got what you want, and you find yourself wondering, is something wrong with me? Of course, if you’re looking outward, this might seem like a natural way to feel. But I have a different idea this Valentines day…
Forget about everyone else, turn inward, and fall back in love with the greatest, most consistent and ever present lover in your life…YOU. Think about it. You’ve been right there, by your side, from that very first breath. You were there the first time you fell and scraped your knee. You were there when that nasty kid didn’t want to play with you. You were there the first time someone broke your heart.When you open your eyes each morning, its you who listens to your first thoughts. You go about all of your daily business together, and at the end of the day, its you who lies by your side as you fall asleep. There’s no escaping it, no matter how hard you try. You’ll be hand in hand, with you, for the rest of your life.
What better relationship exists in the world to spend your time cultivating? No relationship is easy. We have to work hard to listen closely, to pay attention, to notice all the good things about our loved one’s. We have to be patient when their behaviour is trying, and we have to be forgiving when they mess up. When they are sad, we cheer them up, and when something amazing has happened, we help them celebrate.
It’s easy to understand what a good friend, or good lover is when we think about it this way. But ask yourself, is this the way you relate to YOU? Do you try, every day, to be the very best friend that you can be? When life gets hard, do you offer compassion and support, or do you criticise, demand and belittle yourself?
Many years ago, when I started sitting silent meditation retreats I learned that I had a terrible relationship with myself. I said all kinds of nasty things to me, and I was very demanding. I could barely live up to my own relentless high standards, and as a result, I felt like I was in a constant state of failure. I still hold myself to a pretty high standard, but I have also learned to soften. I have lots and lots of forgiveness, and when times get tough, I meet myself with compassion and love.
Valentine’s Day can be another excuse to feel like we aren’t good enough. We could be like an abusive partner, ranting things like, “Why don’t you get out of the house, you loser? Why haven’t you made something with your life?”. Or we could be like a lovely Mary Poppins, and cheer ourselves up with well wishes and spoon fulls of sugar.
For me, V-Day has become a time to check back in on the most important relationship that exists in my life. ME. I have learned that every external relationship mirrors the one I have with myself. Whatever I cannot love or accept in me, I cannot love or accept in another. Whatever I have learned to forgive or appreciate about me, I can do so in another.
If you find yourself single on Valentines Day, here are my top 4 picks to falling back in love with YOU… and to make V-Day the most romantic self-love day EVER:
- Write a love letter to yourself. Really, go for it. Say everything you’ve ever wanted to say. Gush about how great you are, and write all the things you wish upon yourself for the future. Want to go the extra mile? Seal it, self address it, and give it to a trusted friend to mail back to you next year.
- Make a commitment to yourself: If your self love game has been lacking, then set up a ceremony to commit to you this year. You can write out some vows, say them into a mirror, or if you find it hard to look into your eyes, set up a special altar in your house or go into nature.
- Get out your phone and call as many loved ones as possible and wish them a happy Valentines Day. Actually call them, on the phone. not just texting or instant messenger. WARNING: skip the ex-lover.
- Grab a group of your absolute best mates and get out of town. A road trip, surf trip, camp trip or something extra active should do the trick.
Remember, upping your self love game isn’t about being self-obsessed, or being selfish. It’s about falling in love with all of humanity, and falling in love with life again. Once that happens, you can become the kind of shining star that spreads love and light everywhere.
Wishing you the best Valentine’s Day ever, self-lover.