For those singles unhappy with their relationship status, Valentine's Day can represent a sense of foreboding and dread as it highlights all the things they wish they had in their lives. Everywhere they look it seems like there is a happy couple on every street corner, and it seems inescapable to walk into a store without some image or product associated with the holiday being shoved in one's face to reinforce the value of love and relationships.
However, I am here to tell you to stop the madness! Don't let this particular day dampen your spirits or cause you to feel depressed! As you know, Valentine's Day has become very commercialized and contributes to the stigmatization of being single-if you let it! Never forget that being single is an opportunity and an outright valid choice by many. Our society puts considerable pressure on us to become partnered and can cause one to feel minimized, left out, and "less than". Not true! Recognize the power and growth potential that the single lifestyle affords you and embrace the fact that Valentine's Day is just that-a day like any other day that's intended for you to live it to the maximum and keep striving toward your dreams and goals.
But at the same time, it does seem near impossible to shield oneself from the hoopla that the media places on Valentine's Day. And if you are struggling with trying to reconcile with your single status, it can be a difficult day if you allow it to define how you feel. So what follows is a list of tips and activities that you can try on for size to help you overcome "The Valentine's Day Blues". They're not earth-shattering ideas, particularly if you don't feel that there would be any viable substitute for having a hot guy on your arm for the evening, but they just might be a catalyst to help you take some positive actions that might help you achieve a renewed sense of spirit and perspective.
8 VALENTINE'S DAY SURVIVAL STRATEGIES
No date on Valentine's Day? No problem! Try one of these action strategies and you just might realize that flying solo this year provides you with more benefits than having a date could have. The day could be a lot more rewarding than you think!
8. Take yourself out on a date and experience the ultimate in blissful self-care.
Give yourself permission to treat yourself well today. Pamper yourself and do something that will help you achieve a sense of relaxation and rejuvenation. Visit a spa, get a massage, soak in a hot tub, send yourself some flowers, read a good book, go to a movie or play, go shopping, etc. Know your unique strategies for self-nurturance that will soothe you and partake in them. Indulge responsibly and guilt-free. You work hard and you deserve this pleasure!
7. Enjoy a night on the town.
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Break out of the doldrums and get out there! Get dressed up to the nines and mix and mingle. Whether you go to a club or a single's event, you'll feel energized by doing something active and entertaining. By creating a bit of adventure, you're adding a bit of spice to your life that will give you a sense of invigoration and enrichment.
6. Reach out to your support system.
Spend some time with your family and friends today. Valentine's Day doesn't have to be pigeonholed into commemorating one's love for a significant other. It's also a day about celebrating your affections for anyone you care about. Make a connection to everyone in your "inner circle" and let them know how much you appreciate and value them.
5. Throw a Valentine's party.
Organize your own creative holiday bash and invite all your single friends. Everyone can bring a Valentine's gift and then names can be drawn at some point in the party to exchange the gifts with your "special Valentine." The gifts can express appreciation of friendship or they can be raunchy and humorous. Pick a theme that expresses your unique personality and style and have a blast!
4. Help someone in need.
Nothing helps to break out of a funky mood than to volunteer one's time and energy to a worthy cause. This type of distraction takes the preoccupation away from the self and all those negative thoughts, and instead channels one's talents into a purposeful and meaningful activity that gives one a sense of accomplishment and contribution. Do some research in advance on what events or activities are going on in your community on Valentine's Day and see if you might be able to enlist your services and help make a real difference in a person's life or a cause.
3. Journal your feelings and strategize.
Break out a notebook and start a journal to record your thoughts and feelings about your single lifestyle and journey. If you're upset about the holiday and your single status, write it all out on the paper to discharge this negativity and release it. But don't stop there! Venting doesn't achieve anything except temporary relief of pent-up frustration. Now write about what you're going to do about those feelings. What productive action steps can you take to remedy your dissatisfactions? Do some problem-solving to devise potential solutions for your dilemma and try them out, making revisions as needed.
2. Celebrate your singlehood.
Avoid comparing yourself to other people who are in relationships. Not all couples are in ideal relationships and it's important for you to manage your projections. In another entry in your journal, write about all the positives and advantages of being single and how you can maximize this time to make yourself the best person you can be. Also identify the things that you're grateful for in your life and make sure to validate those things on a daily basis so you never lost sight or take for granted the good things you actually do have.
1. Clarify your dating and relationship goals and devise your official dating action plan.
Although this is definitely a work-in-progress, spend some time this evening alone with yourself to plot out your specific needs and goals as a way to improve your dating success. Create a vision of your ideal balanced lifestyle and of your ideal partner and relationship. What are the specific qualities and characteristics that you require? What are your negotiable and non-negotiable needs as it pertains to these parts of your life? What has been working for you along the way and in what ways might you be self-sabotaging your efforts in finding Mr. Right? How are your dating and social skills? How are your self-esteem, confidence, and assertiveness skills? What areas of your life help vs. hinder your quest? Use this information to make improvements in those areas in need of strengthening and draft an action plan using this knowledge for accomplishing your relationship goals that are driven by your values.
The important point to be made here is to acknowledge your feelings that you're experiencing about Valentine's Day, process them, and channel them into productive outlets. Avoid putting so much stock into the meanings and symbolism of this day and instead be proactive and make this day positive one that will allow you to keep the momentum going as you keep living and striving toward your vision of your ideal lifestyle. Valentine's Day is for singles too! It's all in what you make of it!
© Dr. Brian L. Rzepczynski, The Gay Love Coach