Here it comes again. No sooner do we ring in the new year than the red hearts and balloons start popping up everywhere. Diamonds, flowers, chocolates, greeting cards and teddy bears all hail a season of passion and romance. That day on which it seems that everyone else in the world is in love…except me. Saint Valentine’s Day.
Our Lonely Singlehood
I make no bones about the fact that tomorrow is one of my least favorite days of the year. The cynic may shrug it off as just another commercial holiday imposed on us by the secular media and Hallmark. But for some of us it's not that simple. The ubiquitous images of couples lovingly embracing, passionately kissing and gazing affectionately into each others eyes serve as a sore reminder of our lonely singlehood.
Having been through more St. Valentine’s Days as a single person that not, I can attest that there are others like me whose hearts are on the verge of breaking every February 14. So what are some of the ways we can ease the stress of this emotionally difficult season? Come, walk with me for a while.
Easing the Stress
First, it is important to maintain the proper perspective. Lighten up! It’s draining to expend energy fretting over each and every reminder of your singleness. By accepting that this is at least right now our state in life, we need to make every effort to look beyond the fact that we are not currently in love. Look on the bright side: you don’t have to buy another person a present! Instead, you can gift yourself with that new pair of shoes or jacket you’ve had your eye on.
Next, keep your other single friends close by. Make every effort to surround yourself with supportive friends who are also single and craving companionship. Anywhere you go on St. Valentine’s Day you're sure to be confronted with countless couples in love. So sharing company with a friend who may be experiencing the same difficult emotions can turn the day into an occasion of frivolity and even joy.
Let others know how much you care about them. It's very easy to sink into depths of self-pity and despair at this time of year. But we must resist this temptation. This can best be achieved by being pro-active. Get outside of yourself and do something for others! Try writing a note to a godchild or special neice or nephew and let them know that you love them and are thinking of them. Put yourself at the service of others rather than waiting for others to shower attention and affection on you.
Get physical! The reality of the human condition is that we are physical beings with physical needs. I often find it difficult, especially around St. Valentine’s Day, to maintain purity of mind. It's therefore important for me to channel my sexual energy into a positive activity that can produce both physical and spiritual benefits. Thus the need for physical activity. Exercising not only yields the obvious benefit of keeping our bodies in shape, but it also releases natural chemical endorphins that provide us with a natural high. (I, myself, crave a good natural high during this particular time of year.) Winding down afterward with a long hot bubble bath can further ease the tension. The point is to address our physical needs and desires in a way that brings us into balance and gains us graces. After all, if it's in God's plan for us to eventually meet that special someone, we want to not only offer them a pure mind, but look our best as well.
Asking the Tough Questions
During this season it may also be healthy to ask ourselves some tough questions. Why am I still single? Is my heart open to meeting other people? Am I too independent? Is my schedule so regimented that I fail to ever put myself in a position to meet a potential spouse? When I do meet someone, do I make time for them? Do I really want to be married? Am I in a relationship I should not be in? Are my expectations of the opposite sex realistic? Do I place too much emphasis on looks?
Last but certainly not least, a Catholic single person must include our Lord in the struggle. We must pray. We must listen and discern what God is asking of us, where He wants us to go, and what he's calling us to do. We must receive the sacraments and accept His will in all things. Bring your struggles to the Lord. Ask Him to help you find a mate. Ask Him to give you peace in the place you are right now. We must never forget that the most important Person in any relationship is and always will be Jesus, our Lord.
There! Having shared a bit of what's on my heart, I feel better prepared to face tomorrow without the usual bitterness and anxiety. I hope and pray that I've equipped you with some useful tips on how to counteract the St. Valentine’s Day blues. Happy St. Valentine’s Day!
Marie Siobhan Boland is a freelance writer and methodology seminar provider for homeschooling groups from Albany, New York. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Reprinted with permission from www.StRaphael.net.)