Valentine’s Day can be a genuinely wonderful, happy day for some people. But for many of my counseling or dating coaching clients who are single, Valentine’s Day can feel downright sad. It can seem like everyone else in the world is in love except you. Worse yet, if you’re in the process of a breakup, Valentine’s Day can bring up memories of love lost, and crack open a new round of grief and regret.
Here are some tips for how not just surviving this day if you’re single, but use it as a catalyst to create good things for yourself:
1) Stay in the Present. Valentine’s Day is a prime opportunity to strengthen your mindfulness skills. Remember that if you start to feel bad / sad / anxious it’s because your mind is time-traveling out of the present moment, and you’re envisioning what was, what could be, or making judgments about what is. Practice coming back into the present moment and being non-judgmental about your current reality.
2) Use this day as an opportunity to practice loving yourself. Be your own Valentine by giving some thought to how to be kind and loving to yourself. How do you take care of yourself on this day in healthy ways? How do you talk to yourself, soothe yourself, and show yourself love? Treat yourself as you would treat someone you adored: Be gentle, be kind, and be thoughtful.
3) Give to others. One of the quickest ways to cultivate positive feelings is by doing something nice for someone else. Set aside some money or time for generosity toward others on Valentine’s Day. Think about who in your circle is lonely, and how you can show them love. Get creative about how you can brighten someone else’s day. Put a heart-spangled sweater on your dachshund and take him to the local nursing home. Write a heartfelt love letter to someone you don’t know. (For some inspiration, check out www.moreloveletters.com.)
4) Focus on what you want to create. Clear your calendar on Valentine’s Day, but instead of listening to sad music with a box of tissues, spend some time listening to yourself about the kind of love that you want to create in your life. This is a lovely day to do some journaling and get into contact with your feelings, hopes and dreams. Use this time to visualize saying goodbye to a lost love, to get clear on how to love yourself, and to write about how you want to feel when your new lover is finally in your arms.
5) Do something about it. People often ask me “How do I get motivated to make changes?” No one likes the answer, but here it is anyway: People don’t change until the pain of their current reality outweighs the risk and effort that change actually requires. So embrace the pain. When what’s happening now feels bad enough, it will motivate you to take positive action to create something better.
If you haven’t created that Match.Com profile yet, do it now. Consider investing time, energy in making your Match or Tinder profile stand out. If you’re actively dating and not getting results, bite the bullet and make an appointment with a Dating Coach to trouble-shoot. Your life will only change when you do.
With love to you this Valentine’s Day,
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self. She is a licensed psychologist, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and a board-certified coach, as well as the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.
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