Why I Think That "Singles Awareness Day" Is a Twisted, Messy Little Emotional Gift.
Valentine's Day is like your period.
Yep. Valentine's Day is TOTALLY like your period.
Sometimes it's painful, it's usually messy and inconvenient, and it always puts you in touch with alllll the feels. It’s also, er, red. ❤️
AND: Also like your period, Valentine’s Day can be a great opportunity to get really clear on what ISN'T working for you in your love life.
Hear me out:
I usually say that my period (except when I'm in literal, physical pain, which happens, too!) doesn't make me miserable — it makes me feels-y, which puts me in close proximity to whatever emotions were already lurking in the backstage of my personal mental theatre, waiting for their turn to show up and make me miserable.
However, I've found that once I acknowledge these feelings and give them their time in the spotlight, my emotions tend to be more than happy to settle down and to take their assigned places among the rest of the supporting characters.
I've also learned to recognise that in coming out and being seen, my emotions actually did me a favour.
They reminded me that they were there. And, in being seen, they gave me the opportunity to acknowledge and to learn from what they had to offer: a peek into what's going on in the backstage of my subconscious mind when I'm not paying attention. Once I know what's there, I can examine and act upon what I now know about what I need and want, and I can create a plan to give that to myself.
So as much as I hate my period — I've learned to see it as a twisted, messy little emotional gift.
And I've learned to be grateful for the role my period plays in giving me a peek into whatever's "backstage" for me, even if it feels uncomfortable — excitement, stress, misalignment, longing, sadness, grief, wanting . . .
Ditto for Valentine's Day.
For many of us, Valentine's Day is a day that, sometimes without our choosing, requires that we check in with how we're feeling about our love lives, singleness, or relationship.
If you're feeling less-than-thrilled at the prospect of Valentine's Day, this may be because Valentine's Day is one of the few days a year that puts us face-to-face with our love lives and however it is that we currently feel about them.
For many of us, Valentine's Day can be a day that shines a spotlight on however it is that we already feel about our love lives — whether we're single, coupled, or somewhere in between.
This self-awareness isn't much fun, so I don't expect, upon reading this, for us all to spontaneously decide that we love Valentine's Day. Nor do I expect us to suddenly jump for joy at the prospect of heart-shaped cutouts, roses, and all things pink and glittery.
But: I do think that the self-awareness sparked by Valentine's Day can, like our periods, be its own twisted, messy little emotional gift.
Valentine's Day, like our periods, and like the beginning of a new year, can be an opportunity for us to ask tough questions of our love lives. Questions like: How are we currently feeling about dating? How is our existing dating strategy (or lack thereof) to find love in 2024 working for us so far? And, most importantly: how happy are we, really, with the current state of affairs in our love lives?
If the answer to this last question is not at all, and/or we find ourselves feeling blue (Instead of pink! We. Obviously. Want pink!) at the prospect of Valentine's Day, I'd like to propose a few questions that may help us to find the twisted, messy little emotional gift buried underneath the layers of frustration and disappointment that all-too-inevitably are present in modern dating and relationships.
So instead of deleting your dating apps for the hundredth time and reaching for a twelfth discounted Valentine's Day chocolate, I'd like to invite you to consider the following:
What does this experience of a day that puts you face-to-face with your own relationship with your love life say about what you want out of dating or relationships?
What feels good about your current love life? What feels "off"?
What information do these emotions hold about what is and what isn't currently making you happy in your love life?
What's working for you? What isn't working?
Is there any small step you can take towards fixing what isn't working and towards bringing your current love life into greater alignment with what you want?
Sometimes our discomfort associated with the gap between where we are and what we want can be helpful in nudging us to take action in the direction of our desires. And action is what's really needed in order to move from self-reflection into self-actualization; from self-awareness into making what it is that we desire into a new, integrated reality.
With this in mind, what if, instead of seeing Valentine's Day as an inconvenience and as an unnecessarily painful reminder of our single or uncomfortably coupled status, we saw it as a unique opportunity to pause and to assess how we're currently feeling about dating and our relationships, and to re-evaluate the course of action (or inaction) we're taking to cope with those feelings? Yes, Valentine's Day can be an uncomfortable reminder that we're single or unhappily coupled — and it can also prompt us to remember that we want more from our love lives, and to acknowledge that our current attempts at making things happen might not be working for us anymore. In this way, Valentine's Day just might be the catalyst you were waiting for to inspire you to do things differently in your love life.
So, with this in mind: This Valentine's Day, maybe we can consider giving ourselves the gift of a new perspective on our dating and romantic lives. Like most really good gifts, a new perspective is a gift that will require some forethought, as well as a degree of effort and a little intentionality. But (here's a little secret): if you ask me — I think that you are absolutely worth giving yourself a gift like that.
Sending love to you all on Valentine's Day. Please consider doing a little something extra to be kind to yourself today.
And remember: If you're drained from drowning in a sea of dreadful dating dossiers and want nothing more than to just find someone attractive and normal for once — I see you, I was you, and I'm here for you!