2 Secrets to Surviving Life Without a Valentine
RAFT Team, February 7, 2022
It’s February — the month of love. It’s also the month of unrealistic expectations and loneliness. Especially if you find yourself without a Valentine. According to Statista, only about 50% of Americans will celebrate the holiday, but there are enough pink and red hearts in stores and online to make you think you might be missing out on love.
What is love all about? It’s that crazy force that makes you do things you never thought you’d do, give up things you never thought you would, and accomplish things you never thought you’d be capable of. And involves values like trust, generosity, and faith. In its simplest definition, love means doing all you can to make someone’s life better.
During this Month of Love, it’s easy to get caught up in the things you can’t control, like whether you're with or without a Valentine. Instead, consider two things you can control: loving other people and loving yourself.
Love can look different to different people. And people can show their love in different ways. The easiest way to let someone know you love them is by saying. “I love you.” What a wonderful thing to hear! Sometimes it’s asking permission for a hug or sending a quick text message to let someone know you’re thinking of them.
The Scary Side of Love
Love involves vulnerability, too. (This is a big reason many choose to be without a Valentine — vulnerability is scary!) Handing over a piece of your heart to someone, trusting that they’ll handle it with care is no simple task. Loving someone gives you the freedom to admit how you really feel, even when it’s uncomfortable. Love allows someone to see the messy parts of you and your life, not just the pretty, put-together parts.
The Tricky Side of Love
The funny thing about love, though, is that sometimes when we show love, the recipient doesn’t see love. They don’t realize you’re doing what you’re doing out of love. Here are a few examples:
- A mother might show love by feeding her child vegetables. She wants them to stay healthy! But this surely doesn’t feel like love to most children.
- A wife might show love by driving safely when her partner is in the car.. This doesn’t always feel like love, especially when you’re running late.
- A manager might show love by setting clear goals and expecting her team to achieve them. (Love also includes the manager seeing each team member’s strengths and providing the insight and tools needed for them to get the win.)
Because love can be hard to see sometimes, it’s important to let people know you love them. Sometimes that means using words, not just actions. Talk about love, tell each other, “I love you,” and learn different ways you can show love to others and experience love from them.
More difficult than loving others is learning how to love yourself in a healthy manner. Not the self-indulgent surface love, but in a deep way that makes decisions to care for yourself even when it's inconvenient. You’re probably used to allowing your needs take the back seat. (Most Advocates do!) Loving yourself means knowing what you need to be physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy and making sure you get those things. It’s not all bubble baths and chocolate, although these things can be wonderful!) Self love might look like:
- Making sure you drink enough water each day
- Getting enough sleep each night
- Enjoying fresh air every day
Loving yourself also involves learning how to speak kindly to yourself. Self love is choosing to ignore the voice in your head that tells you that you’re not good enough, don’t know enough, or don’t look right, even when that voice is shouting loudly. Often, self-love means saying “no,” to others but also to yourself! Self-love teaches you first to hear your quiet, encouraging voice, and then to give it more space and more volume. Self-love is investing in yourself so you can become your very best self.
If you’re don’t know where to start your self-love journey or how to take the next steps in creating a daily wellness plan, consider asking yourself these questions:
- What makes me feel calm?
- What brings me joy?
- What does my body need to function a little better?
- What helps me to connect with others?
- What do I want to learn?
Keep nurturing love and allowing it to grow, and soon you’ll begin to reap its many rewards. And one of the best parts? Even without a Valentine, you can feel loved and fulfilled — it comes naturally when you invest in loving others and loving yourself.