AP NEWS
Related topics

Alone on Valentine’s Day?

February 10, 2019 GMT

It’s almost Valentine’s Day. The one day out of the year when you and your significant other can go out in public and celebrate your coupledom with all of the other happy couples on the planet and bask in the glow of your love. You can even partake in the romantic specials many businesses offer to couples on February 14th, such as discounted hotel rates or special meals designed just for two.

Sounds great, doesn’t it?

But what if you aren’t part of a couple? What if you’re single on Valentine’s Day, unsure of what to do with yourself? Does that mean you can do nothing else but dwell on your single status? What happens when a holiday makes you feel like you’re missing out on something almost everyone else has?

Well, don’t fret. Here are a few ways to transform the day of commercialized romantic love into a celebration of self-love.

Don’t dwell on it

“Given that Valentine’s Day is a minor holiday at best, I hate to see people worked up over their relationship status because of it,” said Amanda Wright, adjunct psychology professor at Kankakee Community College. Not only is it a minor holiday, but it’s also just one day out of 365 days in a year. Try not to give the day too much significance. Of course, it doesn’t help matters when retail establishments start displaying their Valentine’s Day merchandise the day after Christmas. It may seem like no matter where you look, you are constantly reminded of how this holiday for two is right around the corner.

Identify your true feelings

“I think that your relationship status is as important as you make it. Many people who are in relationships feel alone while many single individuals feel fulfilled socially. Everyone has different needs and feelings about this topic. It is possible that society is making you feel bad for being single,” Wright said. And to back up her assertion, one single woman said, “It doesn’t bother me to be alone. It’s better than being in a relationship because a third party thinks I should be out trying to foster one.”

Make sure you are aware of what you truly feel about being single. Valentine’s Day can bring on a lot of pressure, and it will help if you can identify just what feelings are being imposed on you from the outside as opposed to what you are feeling on the inside.

As another local single person said, “People expect single people to be lonely. I’ve got news for you — I’m alone because I want to be and that definitely doesn’t mean I’m lonely. I don’t mind my own company, most of the time.”

Buy yourself a Valentine’s Day gift

Treat yourself; you deserve it. Don’t wait for someone else to buy something for you — do it for yourself. Buy something to keep with the Valentine’s Day theme, like a box of chocolate or some flowers to perk up your home and your mood. And — if you can do so without putting yourself into debt — buy a slightly more expensive item, even something frivolous you’ve had your eye on. Buy it, and enjoy your life on your own terms.

Pamper yourself

Book a spa treatment and enjoy some well-deserved pampering. Go to the movies or rent one you’ve been wanting to see. When it comes to movie choices, you might want to avoid the rom-coms and opt for something empowering or inspiring. Look for something that will leave you feeling good about yourself and life in general. “Hidden Figures,” “Erin Brockovich” or “On the Basis of Sex” are good choices if you are looking for female empowerment. Or, try other inspiring movies like, “The Pursuit of Happyness,” “Remember the Titans” or “The Blind Side.”

Let yourself do something you have been putting off for another day. Don’t allow guilty feelings to creep up because you “shouldn’t be spending money on yourself” and don’t force yourself to do something productive if it’s not what you really want. If you’re feeling lonely or down on this day, pamper yourself.

Spend the day with friends

“Most psychologists agree that while social relationships are an important human need, romantic relationships are not the only way to fulfill this need,” Wright said. In keeping with that theme, a local single woman decided that after her divorce she wasn’t going to let the day convince her she was “missing out” on something. Instead, she decided to focus on what she had — friends. She renamed the holiday Galantine’s Day (named for her gal pals, like the similar “Parks and Recreation” holiday) and spends it with her other single female friends.

“We get together at someone’s home, everyone brings a dish, a bottle of wine for wine tasting, and we play games, such as Taboo,” she said.

Spending the day with friends is a popular choice for many. A local single man celebrates the day as Singles’ Appreciation Day. He focuses on the fact that “you’re never alone when you have family and friends in your corner.”

Spend the day with your kids

Family relationships are another important aspect of living a fulfilling life. If you are a single parent, there are lots of choices for family friendly activities. Take your kids to the park, a skating rink, a movie or out to dinner. Live in the moment with the little human beings in your life, and you will forget all about what society thinks you are missing. Your mood will improve watching your children enjoy themselves. At the same time, you will be setting a great example for your kids by focusing on what you have in your life instead of what you don’t.

And finally...

Research the origins of Valentine’s Day

You will find the way it’s celebrated today is a mixture of influences dating back to Ancient Romans, the Catholic Church, and then later to Elizabethan poets. The history is quite interesting and not exactly what we see today, and it just might give you a whole new perspective on the day.

Sometimes, we all just need to love ourselves first.