For 17 years of my life, I have been single on Valentine’s Day. Up until recently, I have never spent this day with a significant other. And although it might sound sad to some people, being single for most of my life has taught me some important things.
When I was in high school, I always felt embarrassed about being single. Comparing myself to friends who are dating, being single made me feel more insecure about myself; it made me question why nobody ever likes me and whether there is something wrong with me or not.
Like most single individuals, I felt like there is this social pressure on me to find a significant other or be in a relationship. This feeling of being pressured is especially intensified on Valentine’s Day, making one feel even more lonely and miserable seeing other happy couples. For my past self, Valentine’s Day consisted of me wallowing in self-pity, watching all my favorite romantic comedies, and wondering when love will ever come to me.
But as I grew up, I am starting to realize that I did not have to feel like this every year. Valentine’s Day is a special day to celebrate love, which is not only limited to couples and lovers but also celebrating love with families and friends. I realized that instead of waiting for love all alone and depressed, I could celebrate the love I already have. It is okay to celebrate Valentine’s Day without being in a relationship, what’s important is to spend it with the people I love and those who love me, whether it is having a family dinner or having Galentine’s with my close friends.
Surrounding myself with my loved ones reminds me that I am not lonely and helps eliminate all my inner thoughts about self-doubt and insecurities. More importantly, it taught me about self-love. I understand now that there is nothing wrong with being single, and it is not something to feel pressured or embarrassed about either. Society needs to stop putting pressure on single individuals to find someone to be with, as being in romantic relationships does not make everyone happy. Rather than depending your happiness on relationships or people, it should be everyone’s priority to learn how to self-love. If I never learned how to love myself, I would not be happy regardless of whether I was single or in a relationship. Moreover, self-love allows me to become a better partner in my relationships. For almost two years now, I have been in a healthy and loving relationship with my boyfriend. Being able to love and take care of myself gives me the ability to also love and take care of my boyfriend, since I am able to trust and communicate with him more easily. I know for a fact that if I was still leaning into my self-doubt and insecurities, my current relationship would not be as strong as it is currently. Ultimately, I find that loving myself not only strengthens my relationship with myself but also my romantic partner.
So, for this Valentine’s Day, celebrate all the love you already have, whether it is with yourself, a significant other, family, or friends. Practice self-love by doing what you love and treating yourself on this special day. Ignore all the norms and expectations society has on Valentine’s Day, and just start loving yourself. You don’t necessarily need someone else to make you happy, all you need is yourself.