Tips on surviving the season of love

Some people would argue that Valentine’s Day, February 14th, is a tough holiday for those who are painfully aware of their “singleness” in relationship status. I beg to differ. I believe February 15th, the day AFTER Valentine’s Day, is the toughest day for single friends. It certainly was for me. During Valentine’s Day, the actual day of, we are still hopeful that maybe, just maybe, someone would send us sign that we were the object of their affection, or the one he or she has been waiting to tell words that would woo us into extreme adoration. You get the picture. Actual V-day still has opportunity to start or rekindle a relationship. Unfortunately, it is the day after V-day, February 15th, that brings the stark reality of rejection, emptiness, loneliness if you will. These were what I once thought to myself when I was experiencing sadness at yet another year that my spouse did not want to do anything “special” for us as a married couple (not even when we found babysitters for the boys). All this changed recently with a reminder about how the other half, the single folk, live.

When thinking about our feelings of lacking, or our feelings of still being single, I had to check myself, and most especially my heart. Sadly, I had to dig deep to find meaning for where these feelings were coming from. I stumbled upon a devotional for women that helped me to question and challenge myself, while at the same time help me to thrive through this “season of love.” For the full devotional or for others like it, go to http://proverbs31.org/devotions/devo/ and select a date or topic… you won’t be disappointed. Here are a few questions/reflections recommended to challenge ourselves to step out of our “pity party.”

  1. What am I doing that’s feeding my expectations? This essentially asks us to look at what we are doing that keeps us thinking that the perfect will land in our lap. Are we reading too many romance novels? Or perhaps we are watching movies that have too many tag lines feeding this expectation of instantaneous relationship upon saying “hello.”
  2. What am I doing that comforts me in the moment, but makes me feel awful just hours later? You know you’ve done it – eaten full pints of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey, or Baskin Robbins Jamoca Almond Fudge (yes, that’s my all time go-to favorite), or even perhaps eaten a whole bag of Doritos Spicy Nacho chips while downing a diet cola (you gotta cut corners somewhere, right?). While it helps us in the moment, I’m sure the extra pounds or indigestion you experience later leave you feeling worse than when you started.
  3. Who can I bless this Valentine’s Day? The devotional recommends that instead of waiting for someone to show us love, we should make the conscious effort and decision to GIVE love instead. Do you know someone who would really appreciate it to know that you are thinking about them? Why wait to call them when you can text or contact them now? Need to be reconciled with someone who hurt you? Why not be the bigger person and reach out to them to let them know you forgive them, or at least start the conversation to heal that friendship/relationship? Know someone who lives alone and never gets visitors, like the elderly or sick in the hospital? Be that visitor they’ve been hoping for.
  4. What can I put on my schedule with my friends or loved ones that will make me look forward to this season? We don’t have to be the one ASKED or invited. We just as easily can be the ones who GIVE the invitation or do the asking. Not only will it show others you thought of them, but the planning and executing of such scheduled activities can also take your mind off of the negative feelings that can creep back in.
  5. Did I buy into the “if only” lie? We so often tell ourselves “If only I had a boyfriend,” “If only I was married,” “If only I was better looking,” and so on and so forth. By maintaining this negative self-talk, we cause ourselves to spiral our hearts into further negative feelings and feelings of inadequacy or loneliness. Look instead at what is good about ourselves – our self-affirmations, or I Am statements, and reaffirm that there is something wonderful and good about being who we are. Remind yourself that you are fearfully and wonderfully and miraculously made in the image of our Creator, and that we are worthy of SELF-LOVE above all else.

In my book series, The Last Prophet, love is given a definition that goes beyond the romantic, but reaches into the heart of what it means to be alive and human. Not just a love of humanity or our significant other, but love that cares for the good of all in a selfless, unconditional, unceasing kind of way without a second thought to “what’s in it for me”… without hesitation. The main character stresses it, and it really is a lesson we could use for everyday, not just Valentine’s Day.

So this picture I’ve painted tells us that Valentine’s Day, or the day after, is not just a day in the season of love where we should expect something for ourselves. This season is also a time when we should GIVE that love for the very simple fact that it is good for not just ourselves, but for others who may need it. And as I mentioned above, it’s not just for Valentine’s Day or the day after V-day. It’s everyday.

What will YOU do to make the season of love better? Whom can you reach out to on Valentine’s Day or the day after? Comment in the space provided.

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