At this time of year, the media couldn’t be busier reminding you to enhance your relationship, celebrate your romantic life and establish more intimacy as a tribute to Valentine’s Day.
In my practice, I’ve seen many people over the years who feel badly about themselves and their lives, only because they’re not currently in a relationship. And somehow when Valentine’s Day comes around, it accentuates those negative feelings.
But holidays or other yearly milestones don’t need to be triggers of gloom. Instead, honor your single status by acknowledging it in a positive light.
When you’re feeling down on Valentine’s Day, (New Years Eve, your birthday, or even just an ordinary Saturday night), it’s possible that you’re comparing this year with the best Valentine’s Day of your life, when you were with a person you wanted to be with and it all felt great. But if you really think about it, you’ve also probably had holidays when you actually may have preferred being alone.
Remember, loneliness is not about being by yourself.
It’s more about that faulty notion that the rest of the world’s having a party, and you weren’t invited. In the specific case of Valentine’s Day, you’ll set yourself up to feel lonely if you dwell on the happy and loving people around you and see yourself as—perhaps even being the only one—somehow failing to meet that standard. And when you think about it, is that completely true?
Here’s a fact I’ve seen prove itself countless times: When you truly enjoy your own company and accept yourself as a single person, you will be so much more likely to find the right relationship. After all, it is out of the fear of being alone, that the worst and most dysfunctional relationships manifest. Become comfortable with your own solitude; and your next relationship becomes a true choice, never a lifeline. In other words, you’ll never stay in a bad relationship again.
In my new book Stage Climbing: The Shortest Path to Your Highest Potential, you’ll find many perspectives for finding the relationship that will work for you in the long term. But in the meantime, the best thing you can do for yourself when you dread an upcoming holiday for lack of a significant other is to refuse to wrap yourself in negative feelings. Try this on Valentine’s Day: deliberately and defiantly stay home and have a wonderful evening for one. Treat yourself, as you’d want a great date to treat you. Maybe rent a favorite movie that you know always makes you laugh or smile. Fill your home with candles or fresh flowers to create a happy or calming environment. Have an indulgent meal—even if it’s takeout—from your favorite restaurant and enjoy a glass or two of wine. You might even get yourself the gift you’ve been waiting for a special occasion to buy.
The point is to allow yourself to experience exactly what you fear the most–being alone.
When you purposefully face your oneness—really experience it and even enjoy it—you’ll learn that there is really nothing to fear. And the truth is, if you can’t enjoy your own company, how can you expect someone else to enjoy it? So try to make this February 14th a day that’s just like, or even better than any other day of the year, by really caring for and nurturing yourself. Allow yourself to experience the joy that solitude has to offer. It’s there if you acknowledge it and available 365 days per year, 24/7. When you can truly enjoy your own company, that enjoyment will become contagious—and if it’s what you really want, the right relationship will find you. Here’s the best news of all: If it still proves to be difficult for you, Valentine’s Day only lasts a mere 24 hours!
Read more posts by Michael S. Broder, Ph.D, a renowned psychologist, executive coach, bestselling author, continuing education seminar leader, and popular speaker.