Yep, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. For the couples, there are romantic dinners, roses, jewelry and chocolates. For the singles, they wait patiently until the day is over. I’ve been on both sides. When I was single after my divorce, the first Valentine’s Day that rolled around was not a happy one for me. I think I watched some sappy movie that made me even more miserable and depressed that I cried all night. So depressed that I didn’t get out of my pajamas. So depressed that the thought of my singleness snowballed out of control – I’ll never be with anyone – I’m going to be alone for the rest of my life – No one will ever love me. I’m not loveable. Can you hear the violins playing in the background? When I was in that frame of mind, nothing anyone said could get me out of it. Not a thing. I had to come around in my own time. I had to dust myself off and continue on living in my singleness.
Typically in January I would join a matchmaking service or hint around to my friends that I wanted to be fixed up on a blind date. I have to admit that I thought about stretching out the natural shelf life of one of my dates so I wouldn’t be alone on 2/14. In my mind I would come home to a big velvet heart-shaped box filled with 100 expensive chocolates and 6 dozen roses. I’d jump on my bed and be surrounded by scented rose petals. Then on 2/15 I’d have to break up with him, because we just weren’t a match in the first place. But of course that idea didn’t sit well with me. I was never the type to go out with someone I didn’t see a future with.
I did a lot of inner work on myself after that miserable Valentine’s Day. I tried to love myself through the ups and downs of life and be more gentle on myself. Who knew how long I was going to be single and I wanted to enjoy my birthday and Christmas and Valentine’s Day even if I was on my own. I wanted to enjoy my life as a single woman and tried to think of ways to improve those days that I endured. I didn’t want to endure any day. I wanted to live each day to the fullest!
I made a list of things that were bugging me about Valentine’s Day. The three biggies were: 1) I didn’t receive any flowers; 2) I didn’t get any jewelry; and 3) I was lonely. I wanted to counteract these things with positive actions I could do for myself that day. Sounds corny but we all have the power in us to make decisions that serve our highest good and make us feel great. One of the things that upset me was that everyone at work (it seemed like everyone) was receiving huge bouquets of roses. Seemed like every time I walked by EVERYONE’s desk, they had a 2 foot high bunch of long stemmers. So I decided that I was going to buy myself some flowers. Flowers that were bright and vibrant in color. I went to the grocery store and purchased a bunch of flowers. I put them in a fancy crystal vase on my kitchen table. They were $5.99. Those inexpensive, vibrant flowers made me feel so good inside.
When I was shown the new sparkly diamond necklace or bling bling that a loved one bought for a friend, I felt a pit in my stomach. I’m not a big jewelry person, I just wanted someone to buy me something special – go figure. So, in order to take good care of myself, I took advantage of a huge January clearance sale and bought myself a blue topaz ring that was 70% off. I wrapped it right away and presented it to myself on February 14th. I love it! How did I know!?! That was 17 years ago and when I wear that ring now, I am reminded of that special gesture I did for myself. Buying that ring was a turning point in my life. For me, that ring is a symbol that I have the power to change my circumstances and I can make choices that literally can change the way I live my life.
Gratefully, I am past the ‘material’ things that I yearned for on Valentine’s Day. Flowers and jewelry were definitely on my list but my biggest obstacle was spending the night alone. Eating a can of Progresso soup next to my cats alone in my kitchen was how I spent that my first post divorce single VD. I didn’t even like the soup I was eating. How was I ever going to get through this? I’m doing all this stuff to love myself but I’m still lonely. I’m still depressed.
The answer was so simple. I needed to reach out to someone else who was alone or hurting. I needed to be the person for someone else that I wanted someone to be for me. I knew it would not be a ‘romantic’ encounter, but I also knew that asking a friend to join me for dinner or a movie would probably make her night as well as mine. Two people who are individually lonely when they are on their own, are not lonely when they come together. I had to get past the mindset that I needed a boyfriend or a romantic person to go out with to make me whole and happy.
So, that Valentine’s Day was very enjoyable and I was content. I didn’t go through a box of tissues watching Richard Gere in his hot white uniform scooping up Debra Winger that night. I was fulfilled and peaceful looking at the pretty flowers, my symbolic ring and enjoying the company of my dear friend. Quite empowering.
This Valentine’s Day, change it up a bit if you are dreading it. Reach out to a friend who recently broke up with someone or a lonely widow or widower. Send a card, leave a chocolate on their desk at work, buy a carnation and leave it on their windshield. Do anything. Reach out – just do it. It is amazing how good you will feel!!
Check out my new book – It’s In The Little Things! Hopefully will inspire and set you on a journey toward loving yourself and others! http://www.amazon.com/Its-Little-Things-Gayle-Suzanne/dp/1493647695/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1391557818&sr=1-1&keywords=it%27s+in+the+little+things