Unfortunately at this time of year, we are forced to acknowledge February 14th (all those cut out hearts that have replaced the Christmas lights in shop windows don’t really give you much choice now do they…). Whether you are single or loved up, doesn’t it all seem just a bit of a faff? If you are single you just do not care, or you care too much that it hurts. If you are happily involved, you will hopefully be declaring your love for each other far more often than once a year.
In fact, what Valentine’s Day is probably most effective at is sending you into a blind panic about your relationship, or lack thereof. Thanks Clintons.
What I propose this Valentines is to forget for a moment about sex and a desperate need for cuddles and think for once about that often forgotten relationship- the one you have with yourself. By now you have probably failed spectacularly once more at keeping any kind of New Year’s resolution, and have been reminded again that fad diets and giving stuff up just does not work. You want to be that better person but you always seem to lose track. And what is probably the number one thing that distracts you? Relationships. Love, sex and insecurities can rule this time in our lives, which is crazy considering it is also the time when we make some of our biggest decisions for the future.
Here’s the thing. Amidst the heartache of your latest breakup, or even the bliss of being in the best relationship you’ve ever had, the one factor that will remain the constant for the rest of your life- is you. Boys (and girls; forgive me, I am a heterosexual female and so am writing from my perspective!) will move in and out of your life, and maybe a really lucky one will get to stay for a very long time, but they will not fix the things that aren’t right about you. You have to do that for yourself.
Think about those times you have sat heartbroken and wondering how he could have got bored, how he could have chosen someone else, why he ‘just needed space’ ; now think back to a few days earlier when you were stressing about how lazy and unhealthy you are feeling at the moment, how unfocused you are, how little motivation you have. These are extremes I know, but why on earth are you expecting someone else to love you when you don’t love you?? Now, everyone has good and bad days, and of course the decent people out there will always stick by you through the bad times, but if you are stressing about your life then focus on sorting out that life. Don’t waste time and energy trying to impress someone else with a you that you don’t even want to be. Get happy on your own and you’ll be surprised how much easier it is to find someone who wants to be a part of that happy world.
I am a serial monogamist and I am not ashamed, but the two big break ups in my life so far were perhaps some of my fondest memories (after the initial fuck-my-life-is-over phase, of course). I got to reassess and look at myself as just me, not me including him, and they were probably the times I changed the most and got my life back on track in the direction I wanted to be going. I try and keep doing that now, even though I’m happily loved up. If you keep making sure that your life, just on its own, is how you want it to be, you will find that if and when prince charming comes along, he will just be the rather spectacular cherry on an already impressive cake.
So on Sunday, if you are going to wish anyone a Happy Valentine’s Day, wish yourself one, because you are pretty damn ace.
Written for my university newspaper.