Does Valentine’s Day feel like pressure? Is there an over-the-top romantic gesture, special event, gift or other wonderful thing to prove a level of commitment, or rather an awkward middle-ground gift that says, we’re dating, I do like you, but I’m not that in to you, or I don’t want to scare you, or for the love of Cupid, why does all of this have to mean so much?
On the other hand, maybe you are looking forward to an evening with your partner? All is well in romance-land. Or, you’re single and it means nothing to you, you don’t care. Or you’re single and you’re lonely, and feel society’s damning there-is-something-missing-from-your-life stare. For some it can be daunting and a reminder of loneliness; an expectation that one should be part of two to be whole. We do not need a day, greeting cards, chocolate, and pressure to love each other, to show each other. Nor, do we need it to remind us we might be in a bad place, if we happen to be.
So before you pull out your credit card, think about what you want. Stimulating the economy is not your responsibility on February 14th, despite what US News & World Report may say. Ultimately, we all do that, but it doesn’t have to be with a dozen roses at $75 and then dinner, and, and, and. . . .
Don’t I sound like fun? But, I am. Really. And, I am romantic, I don’t need the calendar to tell me so. I think Valentine’s Day is a day that can be like any other, because it is. So, let’s not make it more than that, unless that’s what you (and your partner, if you have one) want.
Bottom line, Valentine’s Day is big business for florists, chocolatiers, greeting card companies, and jewelers. That is, if you are in a couple. If you are dating, married, partnered or otherwise inclined to celebrate with a special someone, Valentine’s Day can be a big deal, romantically and financially.
And, if you are in a couple, why not enjoy the love is in the air aura that is Valentine’s Day? It can be a way to spend time together, time that in our busy lives is otherwise hard to find. But, if you are single, you don’t have to be left out. And, you don’t need a special day to practice the art of love.
I was in a couple recently, and for a long time. But even then, Valentine’s Day wasn’t always chocolates and roses (or insert your romantic gesture here, I’m not much of a traditionalist, so romance for me can be a sunset hike, a picnic, or . . . well, I won’t give it all away). But even coupled, I didn’t have mind-blowing Valentine’s Days every year. I was married, some years were good, some not so good, some flat out bad. I also have kids. Try getting a sitter on Valentine’s Day let alone a reservation somewhere without taking out a second mortgage. Often, we’d wait for the kids to go to bed, pour a glass of wine and enjoy a quiet meal. No earth-shattering fireworks or rose petals strewn across the duvet. Romance and the celebration of love is what you make it, and what you need, and want it to be.
This year is my second year single in almost two decades and I’m getting used to being my own Valentine. But, I have no timeline. Eventually, if it’s right, I wouldn’t mind, you know, well, again, that’s for another post. . . .
See, it’s not really about the candy or the flowers; it’s about love. It’s about self-love, being loved, and loving others. Yes, it is a day to go all out for a lot of romantics. But, ultimately, Valentine’s Day can also be a reminder that we all need, deserve and can have love, no matter what.
What if you could be your own Valentine, single or not? I’m not saying chocolates and Champagne all around, bathing in rose petals, and living in a constant state of bodice-ripper cover art. I’m saying, practice self-love, love others, and let yourself be loved, every day.
Treat yourself, love yourself. Today, on Valentine’s Day, and always. Get a massage if your body craves it; buy yourself flowers if that makes you happy; take a day off work and go for a hike. Ask someone out. Or go to a movie. Blissfully alone. Being alone doesn’t have to mean lonely. I know, I’ve been both and there is a huge difference. I’ll take alone and happy over lonely and partnered any day of the week.
The beauty of being your own Valentine is that you can’t go wrong. Listen to your heart. Love and care for yourself always. Know that the effort to recognize and meet your own needs goes a long way. You’ll feel loved, and you’ll exude love, and that is how you will attract love, that’s just how it works. And we all need that, every day.
This article was originally published on goodmenproject.com