I’ve never really been someone who cared for Valentine’s Day, even before I was single, but I’m aware that some single people are feelin some type of way about being alone today of all days. Let me start off by stating the obvious: it’s not that deep.
Whilst I’m not trying to be cold-hearted, I truly think that unless you can start to see value in your own company, then you’ll only endure many more melancholy filled days which are hinged on your expression of singledom. This being my first Valentine’s day ‘alone’ in 4 years, I think I can rightfully add my input here.
So let me repeat it again for added clarity and emphasis: It. Is. Not. That. Deep.
You cannot let your sense of self-worth be so fragile that it fluctuates on occurences where your identity as a single person becomes amplified. I don’t even say this from a place of knowing and having it all figured out, since I’m always learning new things about my identity and life everyday. I’m saying this as the hype girl/drunken hoe auntie that you sometimes need to help restore faith in yourself every now and again.
Now, I could whip my sociology lenses out and give you the rundown on how Valentine’s Day is merely a socially constructed consumerist gimmick, or I could take a Vogue.com-esque approach and give you ‘10 simple steps to be a bossassbitch.’ But neither of those suit me. Firstly, we already know Valentine’s is a farce, but that doesn’t address feelings of loneliness, and secondly, self-love sure as hell ain’t simple enough to master in 10 steps.
Instead, I want to talk about small everyday routines and rituals which I find to help me along my self-love journey. Not in terms of appearance (ya girl has got a looong way to go in that area), but in terms of genuinely looking after your mental state. So rather than vaguely telling you to ‘love yoself’, I want to share two actionable ways and tools that will enable you to, quite literally, love yoself.
‘Me-time’ (the enlightened version)
Having some ‘me-time’ might sound as basic as basic bitch advice comes, but the way I choose to define it goes beyond the typical and surface level understanding of ‘me-time’. Anyone can make a cuppa/pour a glass of wine/have a bubble bath. It’s more about making the conscious decision to be truly present in time spent alone, and to integrate it as a crucial and sacred part of your daily routine, rather than something only to revel in on a Friday evening.
Everyday, set aside some of the morning or evening (or both, like me – can’t deprive myself of that special self-lovin), and make sure it is filled with guilt-free mindfulness and self-care. Don’t give yourself a time, e.g. 30 minutes – 1 hour, since then it just turns into another errand. You will only waste precious time watching the clock to see how much longer you have left, rather than purely enjoying the moment.
In this sacred time, really make a conscious effort to bask in the small pleasures, and only allow the rest of your day to continue once you feel you’ve adequately cared for yourself or experienced an authentic calm. I know this is difficult way to measure it, since I could spend all day doin this (and sometimes do lol), but I am strictly against timers, so it’s just about finding a balance over time.
Make your breakfast/evening cup of tea and notice all the pleasurable elements about it: take time to notice how it smells, how the warm mug feels against cold hands, how the steam rises and falls in front of icy windows. Take immense pleasure in the warmth of your blankets. Either play some music, watch some YouTube videos, read a book, whatever you choose to accompany this – just make sure it’s something that will make you feel truly grateful for the present moment, and allow your mind feel comforted. I personally tend to watch ‘School of Life’ videos – they are a collection of super interesting and wise 5 minute clips which discuss mindfulness, emotional intelligence, and self-growth.
Even if your mind wanders back to stressful thoughts, simply acknowledge that you got lost in thought, and just gently bring your attention back to your immediate reality – sip the cup of tea, pull your blankets around you a little tighter, and enjoy some of that sweet sweet (self) lovin.
Whilst it may sound trivial and too simple to be effective, to be truly present in those moments is one of the key distinguishers from the more superficial ‘me-time.’ Until you actually deep how quickly and thoughtlessly you do things, like chewing your food, you don’t realise how much an impact simply slowing down and being present can make. I want to write more about this further down the line, since I think ‘being present’ can be a vague concept to grasp since it is mindlessly churned out on social media, but even if you just start off by feeling genuine gratitude in your moments alone, I swear, it’s a life changer.
2. Challenge yourself
It’s okay to have feelings of sadness if you feel lonely. However, don’t lose sight of the things that you are capable of as a single person with total autonomy and no significant other to conform to. In order to feel some sense of ‘love’ towards yourself, it’s important to prove to yourself that you are a human being who can do scary and challenging things, alone – regardless of whether you succeed in said thing or not. Pushing yourself to step beyond your comfort zone is already a success in itself. You might be sick of me discussing comfort zones and challenging situations by now, but I will never stop talking about them until their recognition goes beyond simple bite-sized cliches.
I want to write another post real soon which focuses on all the different ways you can step out of your comfort zone if you’re unsure how to, but for now I’ll go over a few of the less daunting ones:
- Speak up more in your seminars/classes. Ask questions, even if they seem silly at the time.
- Reach out to people, and try to engage in more meaningful conversations with those around you (my blogger babe and soul sister has already written about this here).
- Spend a day in your local town alone. Head to a cafe or restaurant alone to kick things up a level, and show the world that you are perfectly okay with spending time with your own self. Acknowledge, but then push past, the self-critical thoughts that others may be judging you. Chances are they really don’t care, nor will they remember you in 2 minutes time. And think about it: you may have indirectly motivated someone else around you who see’s you doing fun things alone to find the courage follow suit.
- Give yourself permission to say yes more. Yes to meeting up with new people, yes to trying new hobbies, yes to following through with arranged plans. Whatever you would usually hesitate on, simply say yes to. For the sake of adding in cringy but easy to digest buzzwords: Say yes to life.
The sooner you can suprirse yourself by dealing with new situations alone, the more you can feel a sense of pride and love towards yourself, making days like V-Day that little bit easier.
So there we have it, a quick word vomit of my two-cents on Valentine’s Day and my thoughts on the little ways to show yourself love and start taking yoself on dates. This may all sound a little cringe, but let’s be real, knowing how to show love for yourself is key. After all, we come out into this world alone and we die alone.
On that cheerful note, Happy Valentine’s Day one and all xoxo