When Cupid’s coming, my instinct is to duck and hide. It’s not out of a sense of envy for couples on Valentine’s Day; as meaningful as it is, I’ve always hated the pressure and competition. I could pin my feelings on Singles Awareness Day, but I’m not feeling SAD. On the contrary, I think embracing a festival of love means a lot more than buying accessories for your ball and chain.
Singleness at this time of year bites, because it forces us to ask why we are obviously so undesirable when everyone is sucking face in the moonlight. The first step to avoiding SADness is remembering that relationships are an endless dance, requiring effort, negotiation and planning—the grass is always greener. Vanquish the jealousy by thinking about your friends who are in healthy relationships, the ones who make you smile with their respect and devotion for one another. Think of their happiness in the moments you’ve shared with them as a couple, learn from them and be glad you know what love can look like.
Once you’ve got that love simmering in your heart, you can give it out. To be clear, genitals need not be involved, and you can find people with all sorts of interesting stories and endearing qualities without needing to haul someone off to bed. That said, there are plenty of people who enjoy sex and there is absolutely nothing wrong with finding a temporary consenting adult and a condom. After all, this is an erotic holiday, and stimulation by definition runs the gamut from intellectually gratifying to physically invigorating. The point is to share love, somehow.
You could also share that simmering heart full of love with yourself. It’s a little tricky, and most people feel wrong or narcissistic when directing love to themselves, but loving yourself is necessary so as not to rely on others for your daily energy. Giving love to another comes from a source within us, so why not take Valentine’s Day to explore and nurture this source?
Have an Epsom salt bath, cook up your favourite meal, light some new incense and finally open that meditation book your aunt gave you in second year. Imagine what it would be like, all plans pushed aside and all electronics off, working on being calm and content. Fantasize about mythical lover X and how you make their knees weak with your awesomeness.
In other words, use Valentine’s Day to explore and grow. Languishing in the awareness of your relationship status is just making Ben & Jerry that much richer and is killing your confidence. No matter what Cupid has in store, go with the flow and make the most of the love that abounds.