It was Valentine’s Day, 2015, and I was feeling down in the dumps. Was it really Valentine’s Day already?
We’ve all been there right? February 14th comes around, we roll out of bed and accidentally open up Instagram. And it’s already started. Picture after picture of happy couples using the hashtag “#blessed.” A reminder of something you desired (companionship with a significant other), yet we lacked and couldn’t seem to find. I actually got into the habit of annually deleting social media off of my phone every Valentine’s Day.
And, here it was again. It snuck up on me. And, yet again, I failed to meet last year’s promise of it being the last Valentine’s Day as a single man. “This is it! This is the last year I’ll be single on Valentine’s Day! This time next year, I’ll be with my significant other! And we’ll tell the world, via social media, that life is perfect and we are #blessed.” But another year failed.
I also needed a haircut.
I went to my barber, who was actually a friend of mine. She was a few years older than me, and she too was single. I was half expecting her to also be down in the dumps. But when I arrived I was surprised by her smile and a tray of chocolate covered strawberries with a piece of paper that read “Happy Valentine’s Day” with a well-drawn smiley face. Throughout the day she gave her clients “Happy Valentine’s Day” wishes along with chocolate covered strawberries. So much for being down in the dumps and ignoring that fact that it was Valentine’s Day.
“Hey David! Happy Valentine’s Day! Please, take a chocolate covered strawberry.”
“Ugh, is it really Valentine’s Day already? Okay, I’ll take a strawberry. It’ll probably be the highlight of my day.”
Looking back now I feel bad for her because she had to hear me mope about how frustrated I was that I was spending my Valentine’s Day by myself (yet again), writing a research paper instead of going outwith my significant other like all my other friends (who actually had significant others). But she graciously listened to me vent as she cut my hair.
When my haircut was done and I paid her and took another strawberry, she gave me this piece of advice: “Hey, David. You don’t need to spend today moping and feeling sorry for yourself. Go do something for yourself today. Treat yourself, and make it a memorable day!”
So I did just that. I made that day a memorable day for myself. It surprisingly turned out to be a awesome, deeply fulfilling and meaningful day.
This is the best advice I’ve ever received when it comes to enjoying Valentine’s Day as a single person. Therefore, I want to pass it along to you. The choice is really up to you: You can choose to approach the day with a “glass half empty” mindset, like how I approached it before getting rebuked by my barber. Or you can treat yo’self (Parks and Rec anyone?) and have the “glass is half full” mindset, like my barber.
So, if you are experiencing an unwanted singleness on this “Singles Awareness Day,” I hope this does not come across as a call to ignore your pain and just put on a happy face. You have every right to feel what you feel. But, I do want to give a few practical tips on how to not just survive this Valentine’s Day, but also make it a day to celebrate and remember:
- Bless someone today, like how my barber blessed not only myself but all her clients on Valentine’s Day. Cherish the relationships that are present to you today, rather than lament the lack of a relationship you wish was present to you today. Blessing someone today will make your day more memorable and meaningful.
- Bless yourself today. Treat yo’self. Whatever that is for you, make it happen. Do something to bless yourself today. For me, I went on a nature walk and spent time praying and thanking God for the relationship I get to experience now with Him. What would it be for you?
- Spend time with friends who are in the same boat. Make it a fun hangout with friends. It does not have to be a somber singles mope sesh. Make it enjoyable, memorable, and fun!
- Choose to approach the day with joy, just like my barber. Our choice to be joyful, or down, honestly has more power over how we feel than our circumstance. Choose today to live with joy. Think of a few things in your life that you are grateful for. It is not happy people who are grateful, it is grateful people who are happy. What in your life are you grateful for?
Again, I hope this is helpful and not another “Just be happy, and ignore your hurts” post. Your feelings of loss are legitimate. You don’t have to ignore your feelings. My hope is that by blessing someone else, doing something to bless yourself, spending time with friends, and choosing to approach the day with joy and gratefulness, you will naturally experience a more memorable and fulfilling Valentine’s Day.
INSTAGRAM & TWITTER: @DAVIDBEAVIS
Eating lots of food and looking at pictures of puppies are couple of ingredients to David's perfect day. The driving passion of David's life is walking alongside people as they figure out what it means to follow Jesus today. David holds a B.A. in Psychology from Vanguard University and an M.A. in Theology from Talbot School of Theology. He currently works at Mariners Church in Irvine on the High School Ministry team. He lives is Costa Mesa, California.