How do you feel about Valentine’s Day? If the thought of it leaves you feeling depressed or lonely, you’re not unique. According to one statistic, about 40% of people have negative emotions when thinking about the ‘Holiday of Love’. If you are currently single, widowed, divorced, or have recently broken off a relationship it may seem like everyone in the world is celebrating except you. Although I can’t change your circumstances, my aim in this short post is to give you some alternative things to focus on. What if you are happily in a relationship and these ideas seem far removed from you? Chances are you know someone who could use a boost in their perspective. Read my suggestions and reach out to someone who may be lonely. Better yet, send them a link to my blog and suggest they read it for themselves. It might change a dreaded holiday into one they cherish.
Go out with a friend – Who says the holiday doesn’t count if you don’t have a boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse? Think about friends you have who may in the same situation. Call them up and plan a dinner out together. If they live too far away to hang out with you, send them a card, chocolates, or flowers and tell them how much they mean to you.
Meet a stranger – Head over to a local nursing home or hospital. If you have a chance, bring along some valentines (either store bought or homemade). So many people are consumed with their own lives that many people who are institutionalized hardly ever see their relatives and old friends. They are lonely too. Break the ice by asking about their memories of Valentine’s Day. Did they do special crafts in school? What was the nicest or most mysterious valentine they ever received?
Make an animal’s day – Volunteer at a local rescue agency. Check ahead to see if you can bring some small dog bones or catnip toys. When you see the happy energy the animals shed and are the recipient of their loving “kisses”, you won’t be able to help leaving with a smile. Who knows, you may even want to make regular play visits throughout the year!
Help at a homeless or domestic abuse shelter – It is so easy to get caught up in what we think we’re missing. Maybe you used to get pampered on this holiday and it is really hard to not feel the loss of your loved one and the kindness that they showed. However, when we spend times with people living in a shelter, we usually come away realizing that there are people who are worse off than we are. Some of the less fortunate have never experienced the love we have (whether it was from a spouse, a parent, or someone else special). Show them that you care and you may come away having made someone’s day (and your own too)!
Friend yourself – Just because society portrays this as a ‘couple’s holiday’ doesn’t mean that you have to depend on someone else to make you happy. Think about what you enjoy and then treat yourself to a special “me” date. Book a massage or manicure. Buy yourself flowers. Take a little road trip and explore a new museum you’ve always wanted to see. Sometimes it is so easy to justify the money or time we spend on others, but we don’t give ourselves permission to have fun on our own. I know people who have a self made rule that they can never go to a restaurant (except maybe a fast food one) without having someone with them. I say rubbish! If you feel exposed by being alone, bring a book and read while you eat. If it is a good book, you’ll soon forget you’re alone – unless you realize you haven’t been kicked in the knee for awhile!
You have the greatest love that can be had – Didn’t get any love letters, any yummy treats, or any beautiful bouquets? When you’re tempted to stifle a sob because everyone else is getting these things and no one is sending them to you…are you sure? Hasn’t God in His love and mercy provided bounties of good things for you? Most of us have more than enough to eat, including things that we really enjoy. What about the variety of colorful things God has created for our interest and enjoyment – flowers, birds, rainbows? He could have made the world monochromatic, but He gave us a myriad of colors and different species to enjoy and keep us from being bored. God also gave us a love letter. It may have been written thousands of years ago, but God loves us as much today as He did when He breathed it out. He loves us with a perfect love, a love that is not based on what we can do for Him. He loves us because He is the essence of love and for reasons I can’t begin to understand or explain, He gave us the ultimate gift (His Son) to secure an eternal relationship with us. No human love, even from the dearest to us, could ever vie with God’s love. Even when we are most unlovable, He loves us unconditionally and unreservedly! If you doubt me or if you need a reminder of God’s love during difficult times when you are feeling lonely, I found a blog where the author has listed Bible verses about love. Check it out at http://thefelicitybee.com/thefelicitybee/inscribe-the-word-february-scripture-writing-plan. Although all the verses are about love, some of them are about love for each other, rather than just God’s love for us. I have not followed this particular plan, but I have been doing “scripture writing” since November of last year. I have a composition book in a drawer near my couch and every morning I’ve been writing the selection of verses for that day. I have found that writing them out helps me meditate on them and has brought some added joy to my life as I muse on them each morning.
This year, don’t let the holiday get you down. Instead of lamenting your status, make your own love situations. Head into the day with a plan. Don’t wait for love to come to you. Embrace the day and look for ways to spread happiness and love.