I know as a yogi, I should be writing to you in more of a positive tone but I am a realist and everything that I’m about to say comes from my real experience struggling on Valentine’s Day. As cliche as it sounds the most important thing to remember is the relationship you have with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship you have. The issue is it is incredibly hard to focus on this if you’re freshly out of a romantic relationship, widowed, or even just single and bitter it can be a tough pill to swallow seeing happy couple photos and love letters all over social media. That “single and bitter” person used to be me, and in fact, last year I even taught a “Anti-Valentine’s Day” spin class filled with angsty break-up songs.
When I was only 13 years old, my nana who I was extremely close to passed away after a very brief battle with cancer that we all thought she was going to beat on Valentine’s Day. At that point, I was old enough to feel some FOMO being single on Valentine’s Day but it wasn’t until that traumatic event I started truly hating it. Now, every time I see a cheesy valentine’s day decoration it takes me back to the hospital that was embellished with the very same decor and the nurse that whispered to my mom, “your poor girl… Valentine’s Day will never be the same.” Sure, each year after that I continued to feel the ever so common “single sadness” and even struggled with feelings of inadequacy but above all I felt a general heart ache for my nana who was my best friend.
At the end of the day, whether you have a life partner or not is irrelevant because it’s no one else’s job but your own to like yourself. You, not anyone else, are fully in control of those quiet moments you spend at night before falling asleep and what you do with them. A lot of those thoughts that come up before bed at night, or on Valentine’s Day if you’re feeling alone, are probably going to be negative. Don’t panic! It’s okay, this is part of the human experience, you are experiencing real emotions! Make sure that you acknowledge them and don’t push them down or try and ignore them. Take deep breaths and remind yourself of how strong you are, and that you only have room in your brain for thoughts of personal growth. These are not moments of “weakness” rather they test your strength, test how you’re going to respond and cope after those thoughts start to creep in. Prove to yourself that you have the power to move on and continue being the badass you are, whether “alone” or with a partner.
All relationships deserve to be celebrated on Valentine’s Day, heck, for years I solely celebrated the one I had with my cat! Whether you have someone or not, you should still take time to engage in any type of self-care even if it is as simple as taking a bath or a lunch break you wouldn’t usually take, maybe exercising, or even binge watching a tv show. We all get caught up in putting others before ourselves and don’t get me wrong that’s a very admirable quality to have but if you don’t ever put your needs first it will blow up in your face at some point! So this Valentine’s Day, take a second to do something nice for yourself that enjoy. As I was reflecting on Kobe Bryant’s tragic death that happened last week I found a quote that really resonated with me; “Always make time for the things that make you feel happy to be alive.” It’s a reminder we could all use from time to time.