As Valentine’s Day looms and the commercial world cranks up a gear, it can feel like everyone else is, in Beyonce’s words, crazy in love. Days in the calendar come and go, but for some it can be a painful reminder of what they may have lost or never had. Or, perhaps you may be celebrating becoming single and the fresh new start it can bring.
Valentine’s Day does not have to be all about the couple. Take it as an opportunity to give yourself some self loving. We can get busy and forget to take care of ourselves. What do you do to relax and unwind? What can you give yourself as a treat, just because you are you?
If you want to be in a relationship but have struggled to find a partner, perhaps take the pressure off yourself for a while. Think about widening your interests and friendships. Take up a new hobby, widen your perspective, start to think about enjoying life as it is and don’t put life on hold whilst you wait.
If you have recently separated, this time of year can bring mixed feelings. It is especially challenging if you are not the person who called time on the relationship. After a break up we can have a “rose tinted” view of the relationship, and only later we start to see that it may not have all been perfect. This can help us to move on. Recovering from a separation is also part of a grieving process, so remember to give yourself healing time and an abundance of self love. Be with people who love you for who you are, see it as an opportunity to reconnect with friends and family.
Sometimes we can struggle with our identity when we become single, using our relationships to validate our sense of self worth. To be able to love others, we need to start by loving ourselves. Negative thoughts can over take the positive ones. They become loud and we believe them. Try offering yourself an alternative positive thought about you, it may be a small voice to begin with, but nurture it and give it time to become louder. Remember a time you felt good about you in your own right. Find a photograph of you in a positive place emotionally and stick it on your fridge to remind you.
Life can give us negative strokes; readdress the balance by reconnecting with the positive ones.
Finances and practical arrangements can also be an issue. Get some advice; it can give you a greater sense of stability if the practical aspects are all in hand. If you have been feeling low and now feel overwhelmed, start by making a list and doing one thing at a time and perhaps ask for some support from friends or family. Explore what support is available for you within the community.
Being alone because of the death of a loved one can be incredibly painful. Take some time to acknowledge that the loneliness, tears and sadness are a healthy part of the grieving cycle. It is also perfectly normal to feel anger and despair. Be kind to yourself; take one step at a time. Get some photographs out and reminisce over the good times, play a special song or take some time to share a memory of your partner with someone else.
On a final note, if you are single and proud, enjoy it. Society can place expectations on us; however, we are all individuals. Be who you are and enjoy the benefits that being single brings.
Elizabeth works for Relate Lincolnshire as a Clinical Supervisor, Couple & Family Counsellor, Psychosexual Therapist & Sex Addiction Specialist. She has been trained by the Relate Institute, Institute of Family Therapy and Association for the Treatment of Sex Addiction & Compulsivity. She is a member of the professional bodies of COSRT, BACP & ATSAC. She has worked with a wide variety of clients and has a wealth of experience.