Valentine’s Day–or Singles Awareness Day as some have renamed it–is right around the corner. If you watch television, go to grocery stores, or participate in social media, you are likely to be bombarded by pink, red, and chocolate. It’s completely normal for those who are currently lacking in the romance department to feel a little bummed out. The message that being single is a problem to be solved is everywhere–movies, music, novels, and conversations with friends and families. But, we all have the option to reject “single=bad, relationship=good” thinking. Here’s how you can rid yourself of thinking that may be creating dissatisfaction in your single life.
Define yourself in ways other than your relationship status:
It’s important to your wellbeing to have a sense of self that doesn’t involve another person. Look back–sometimes way back–to the things you used to do that made you the wonderfully unique individual that you are. What are you interested in? What are some of your strengths and qualities? You weren’t born with a romantic partner, and you don’t have to be defined or even measured by your relationship status. Single, married, divorced, taken–those are all descriptions, not definitions.
Okay, let’s stop calling it “Forever alone day.” Of course, choosing a phrase with such a negative connotation is going to make you feel down, even more so when you feel that being alone is going to last forever. How about “content romantic detachment” instead?
Being alone doesn’t have to be equated with a sense of loneliness. Enjoy your own company! When you are at home by yourself stop thinking “I’m so lonely” or “There’s something wrong with me.” Instead of that constant, negative loop try, “There’s nothing wrong with being alone. It’s quiet, still, and peaceful to have time to myself.”
Do keep in mind that feeling lonely is normal if you spend large amounts of time isolated. If loneliness is a true problem that can’t be addressed with a shift in thinking, reach out to your friends, family, and other social connections.
Widen your lense and focus on other types of love
While Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about romantic love, you don’t have to have a romantic partner to get into the spirit of Valentine’s Day. There are many different types of love– between friends, family, pets, or even just love for fellow mankind. If you feel left out and actually do want to participate in the festivities, celebrate with people close to you. Do you have a niece, nephew, or children who may enjoy getting something special? Send your grandmother flowers. and then have a nice phone conversation with her. Go out for an evening with other single friends or even co-workers. Why not make an effort today to brighten a stranger’s day? There’s nothing wrong with random acts of kindness and what better expression of love is there?
Remember the pros
If you dig deeply enough, you can find pros with nearly anything. At a time when romance is celebrated, it may be worth taking time to consider how being unattached actually benefits you. What about guilt-free selfishness or a greater sense of freedom? A married person can’t spontaneously hop on a flight to Vegas to visit an old friend. But a single person may have greater freedom to act spontaneously without consulting a significant other. What pros to being single have you come up with?
The Stone Foundation is a community of counseling professionals committed to helping you take “stepping stones to a brighter future.” If we can assist you on your journey, please contact us at 410.296.2004 or visit www.thestonefoundation.com. Please know that this article is intended for general, educational purposes only. This article, and others like it, should not and are not meant to take the place of professional counseling services or medical care.
Lauren Greenberg, MS, LGPC is a graduate of Loyola’s Counseling Practitioner Program. For three years, Lauren provided hotline crisis intervention to residents of Baltimore City. She also has experience providing counseling to students at a local college for issues including grief and loss, depression, substance abuse, self-harm, anxiety, and trauma. Her professional interests and areas of study include positive psychology, promoting social and emotional competence, and women’s issues.