As I started to piece outfits together for my Valentine’s Day “What to Wear” post, my heart was tugged in a different direction. So today, rather, I'm going share a topic of the heart.
Although I’ve been in the dating scene for quite a few years now (former serial dater recently gone exclusive...thank you very much), rarely have I spent a Valentine’s Day with a "special" someone. If I can be completely honest, although I absolutely loved my single life, there were quite a few glimmers of loneliness.
See, women have a way of mustering up independence and feelings of empowerment by the time February 14th rolls around. Rather than sulking, maybe they find other single girlfriends that want to share a memorable night out on the town. Who needs a guy?! Well, until the second glass of wine comes around and they all agree that, if they are completely honest, they would rather be on a hot date than with their beloved company.
Or single girlfriends decide to just stay home and prepare a meal together (all the while thinking how much their future mate would love their cooking). Who needs a guy? Only until they are faced with the dilemma of whether to watch a romantic comedy with possible depression to follow or just go ahead and watch Die Hard to avoid any chance of butterflies.
Let’s be honest, with the addition of each year of singlehood, it can get harder and harder. Here's the good news - this doesn't have to be the case. So whether you’re single and loving it, single and hating it, or the second half of a pair of love birds, here's some ideas on how to make this time of year a season of life and love.
TO ALL MY SINGLE LADIES...
LOVE YOURSELF FIRST, BEFORE ANYTHING OR ANYONE ELSE.
It’s literally not possible to love someone else with all your heart until you learn how to love yourself...the good, the bad and the ugly. Be real with yourself.
DISCOVER WHAT KIND OF EGGS YOU LIKE.
Don’t wait for a man to make you happy. Be happy before he finds you. How do you do this? Find where your confidence can blossom. After all, confidence is the most attractive trait.
I think I’ve done this in snippets throughout the years, but finally, last year, someone got in my face and said...”Would you just figure out what kind of eggs you like already?!” Some of you may know what she was referencing. I didn’t. But after researching, I found that this concept was from “Runaway Bride”. Brilliant.
The main character, Maggie, had been engaged several times. When she would start to date each of her men, she would decide that she liked her eggs prepared the way they liked them. As silly as it sounds, it represented her lack of identity. Before she could ever walk down the aisle to say “I do”, she would instinctively bolt for the fear of losing the potential of who she could be. What did she finally do to overcome this? She took time for herself and discovered her dreams, interests, and hidden talents. She even experimented making different types of eggs. She discovered who Maggie was to the core.
BE IN LOVE WITH YOUR LIFE. ENJOY EVERY MINUTE OF IT.
Know that this is only for a season of your life so enjoy the pleasures of single-hood. You have every right to focus on yourself and make it the life you want. Decorate your house the exact way you want it. Jump in the car and go on a last minute road trip whenever you want. Eat dessert before dinner. Volunteer. Blast your music without any fear of having to turn it down. Pick up new hobbies with each new season. The possibilities are endless.
TODAY ISN'T ANY DIFFERENT.
Remember that you are just as single on Vday as you are on another day. This may sound depressing, but I'm merely stating that you shouldn’t let this one day ruin the anticipation of an upcoming day when love meets you.
APPRECIATE YOUR DESIRES AND KNOW THEIR ISN'T A SCARCITY.
It’s ok to want to be with someone. Especially as a woman, you are meant for relationship. You are meant to be balanced out.
Remember, also, that it just takes one person to fulfill that desire. Out of the three billion men in this world, I think there may be one out there for you. So when you want to say, "There's just no good single guys", know that there's probably a few and you get to choose which one you want!
I got to a place a year or two ago where I was going to scream if I had to attend one more wedding or baby shower. I know...that’s ugly. But as a single girl in her early 30’s, I had been to a lot of events. You know the movie “27 Dresses”? Yeah, didn’t need to watch it...I lived it. But what I found was monumental.
If I couldn’t rejoice in other people’s joys, I probably wouldn’t reap in similar ones.
A fun saying came into my community of friends and it’s something that has forever changed my attitude towards this dilemma. It’s simply, “Me too!!”. Instead of looking at someone else’s "dream" situation and then turning the attention to my lack, I now rejoice with them and by saying “Me too!!” I've literally had to shout it out loud at times just to get it into my head. I want to believe it. I want to believe it's coming for me too.
I've also discovered that this is a great litmus test for friends. The ones cheering for you saying "Me too", rather than "Why her?", are the keepers.
TO ALL MY COUPLES...
YAY FOR YOU.
I’m extremely happy that you’ve found the love of your life. (Me too!) Even if there are times that try you and test you, you are setting an example for hope and love.
At a young age, the minds of girls are taught to look at marriage or relationships like a fairy tale. You fall in love, he whisks you off your feet, and you live happily ever after. Maybe frolicking in the meadows in between long walks on the beach. Of course this is an exaggeration but marriage is glamorized, while it’s actually really hard work. Even the hard work is glamorized. So, talk about your ups. Talk about your downs. Show singles that real life is actually better than a fairy tale because with the downs, the ups become that much stronger.
DO SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR A SINGLE.
I understand that need for quality time with your significant other. In this world of busyness, life can pass you by. Love has to be extremely intentional. In a similar way, be intentional with your single friends. As an example for Valentine’s Day, go out to eat with your boo...but then what would it look like to invite couples and friends for a night out or over to your house? Valentine’s Day is for love. Include singles because sometimes those are the loneliest times when the mind likes to play tricks and say that every couple is having the best night of their life.
Also, let them know they are loved now and it’s easy to love them. This can be done as easily as leaving a little VDay present for your single babysitter that had nothing better to do for the evening. Or it can look like sending a sweet card, or something as simple as taking time out and going to them, rather than expecting them to come to your house. It’s so simple...but those little things speak wonders.
DON’T ASK POINTLESS QUESTIONS.
When I was single, a constant question I received was “How are you still single?!” Now, I know this was meant as a compliment. It was flattering to an extent. But that didn’t help bandaid the singlehood.
The truth is....I was single because I chose to be single. I hadn’t found someone that fit my standard. And I was loving my life the way it was because I was already whole whether someone was in it to join me or not.
I talked to a few of my single friends, and hands down, this was something that came up across the board. So, just be sensitive to phrases or questions like this.
YOUR STORY ISN’T SOMEONE ELSE’S STORY.
Oh my goodness, is it fun to share your love story? For me, it was the “I liked this certain someone for years, but I had written off love due to heartbreak after heartbreak. So, in this time, I worked on myself and put my blockers on to avoid any and all distractions. And then poof....our worlds collided and the rest is history.” Now, as lovely as our stories are (which singles do love to hear), be careful not to put your story on others.
Meaning, phrases like ”When you're least expecting it, that’s when he’ll fall into your life” or “When you, yourself, are ready...he’ll come at the right time”. While those are actually very true...they’ve been overused. They bring little comfort. And probably not until they’re on the other side of the game, will it click.
LISTEN AND SYMPATHIZE.
One of the best things you can do is just listen. Often singles need to explain the void and get it all out. There doesn’t need to be a solution or epiphany. Just an ear to listen. Encourage them in who they are and that there’s a good future for them.
I guess what I want to say can actually be summed up pretty easily. Don’t wait for love to come on Valentine’s Day. Love on Valentine’s Day, but love even stronger all the proceeding days because there is something different about the mathematics of love. Pretend you have a few dollar bills. You decide to give each dollar away. Now, how many dollar bills do you have left? None. Love is more powerful than money or anything else in life because it defies the odds. See, the more love one gives away, the more joy it produces. I have never felt more loved than when I’ve given it away.
So on this Valentine’s Day, love the person across from you. Whether that’s your long time spouse sitting across the kitchen table. Whether that’s the father of your children and you’re both just happy to have peace, even if it’s for an hour. Whether that’s the first date that has sweaty palms across the table from you. Or whether it’s a dear friend that just wants to love and be loved as you engage in beautiful conversation. Just love.