Valentine’s Day can be a hard day if you are single, or recently single, as it is recognized in Western culture as the celebration of love between couples. We are exposed to the marketing and ads around Valentine’s Day sometimes months before- which can make it overwhelming and upsetting if you are also navigating the loss of a relationship and also seeing candy, hearts and commercials all over. But I want to share that Valentine’s Day is not just for couples. It originated as a day to celebrate love, and this can mean love for friends, family, and also love for ourselves. Part of being able to successfully celebrate Valentine’s Day while single is to reframe what it has meant. It can be a day about love- not a day about love with a partner.
With this new framework in mind, here are some ways that you can celebrate this day of love in a way that feels fulfilling.
1. Buy Valentine’s Day cards and send them to your three closest friends.
You don’t have to feel intimidated to walk down the card aisle or feel like you can’t buy something Valentine’s Day related just because you are not with a romantic partner. Pick out a few cards you love and write a note to your closest friends. Pouring time and energy into our friendships makes them feel closer and more fulfilling. This act will remind you of the close connections you have and will foster that connection.
2. Engage in self-love throughout the day.
What is self-love anyways? We hear about it all the time, but what can it look like in practice? Self-love can look like really being gentle and tuning into your own needs. With this in mind, spend the day getting in touch with what you need. Self-love may mean shutting your phone off, it may mean calling a friend. It could look like being aware of harsh self-talk and choosing kindness with yourself. Spend the day engaged and aware of attuning to your own needs.
3. Spend the night cooking or ordering food with a friend.
It may feel important to stay connected on Valentine’s Day. Maybe you have a friend or a family member who isn’t celebrating with a partner or who doesn’t currently have a romantic partner. Call that person and plan a night where you either cook something, or order food in. Both put your phones away and focus on having fun with one another, being present, and connecting. Maybe you watch a funny movie or play a board game or go on a long walk. Whatever it is, be present for it and enjoy it!
Valentine’s Day is not just for couples. You can enjoy the day if you are single. If you find yourself being triggered by certain posts, TV shows, movies or social media- unplug from them! Give yourself permission to take a step back from the things that trigger you and re-focus on what you are wanting and needing in that moment. Choose to see Valentine’s Day as a day to show love to yourself and the people in your life, not just a day for partners. Be aware of the shift that this frame of thinking may have for you!
Acceptance for closure
Closure is such a universal part of every breakup. Most people find comfort in understanding and making sense of a loss. But what if you weren’t in control of your breakup or even agree with it? It makes healing and moving on even more difficult than it has to be. Today, we’d like to talk about an element of closure that can help you gain a sense of control because it is something you’re completely in charge of: Acceptance. In this sense, acceptance does not mean you approve or agree with what’s happened, it simply means you’re going to stop fighting the reality of what is. In acceptance, we surrender to the facts even if we do not like them. We stop engaging in what if’s, we stop thoughts about what could have been and replace them with that is.
Here are some examples of phrases that emphasize acceptance:
I understand that this exercise might feel a bit cold to some people. You might be wondering, what if I don’t want to let go and accept? It’s not that we don’t hold compassion for the grief that comes with breakups, but in acceptance we focus on what is within our control and work towards healing. Acceptance gives us a break from being stuck in difficult emotions and frees us from exhausting mental work that comes with resisting the facts. When we whole-heartedly practice acceptance, we give ourselves the gift of closure even if we have felt completely powerless in our breakup process.