With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I decided to write something that might help those who are single and find this day difficult.
That longing for someone to love and feel loved by someone was an all-too-familiar feeling for me. I recall calling up one of my friends one night in tears and sharing with her the frustration I felt with dating, my unsuccessful experience with dating apps, and the sadness I felt because I was single.
Her response to me still echos my mind: “Being single is hard”.
That response felt like a game changer to me. I suddenly felt a softness in my body. I realized this whole time I wasn't accepting the fact that I was single. Hearing her validate my feelings was just what I needed to realize that being single doesn't have to feel so shitty. I began to wonder why I was measuring my self-worth on the fact that I wasn’t in a romantic relationship. And then it hit me: I wasn't in a loving relationship with myself.
I was looking for something (or someone, in this case) outside of myself to validate my self-worth. At that moment I realized I would do whatever it took to stop giving my power away and made a vow to create a more loving relationship with myself. Over time, I learned different strategies that really helped nurture the relationship I have with myself.
Here’s how I did it...
1. Talk to yourself in the way you would want a partner to talk to you.
I still do this to this day. I find it most effective talking to myself in front of a mirror. You can look in the mirror, stare deeply into your eyes and say out loud (or in your mind): “I love you, I really love you. I am so proud of you. You are so beautiful. You are perfect exactly as you are. You are enough.” Notice any resistance you might feel in your body as you say these words. It might help to soften your statements with "I am willing to love you. I am willing to believe you are enough,” etc.
2. Take yourself on a date!
Why wait to be in a relationship to go out to that fancy restaurant you've been eyeing or watch that new movie that just came out? I found that making time to go out with myself (and only myself) helped me really connect with my inner being and get to know myself better. You can start off by writing down all the things you want to do with a romantic partner and go out on your own instead!
3. Make time to be physically intimate with yourself.
It's really important to get in touch with your body and allow yourself to indulge in all of your senses. I've found setting time aside to be intimate with myself through the use of aromatherapy oils and massaging lotions really help me foster a loving relationship with myself.
4. Buy yourself something to symbolize your commitment to working on your relationship with yourself.
A good friend of mine did this and gave me this amazing idea. She bought a ring for herself and wore it every day as a reminder of her commitment to herself! She said she made a vow that day to marry herself and make herself her top priority.
5. Call a friend and voice/share your feelings.
Hearing someone listen and validate how I was feeling was what I needed to remind myself that I wasn't alone and that it was okay to feel how I was feeling. Sometimes just knowing that you're not alone on your journey can make you feel safe and build trust in yourself to move forward with an open heart!
Melissa is a clinical therapist in our Toronto office specializing in anxiety, perfectionism, and self-image.