Life Without Anxiety

Caring advice for couples and individuals with depression, anxiety, panic disorders, and OCD.

Single on Valentine's Day

Tips to help make your Valentine's Day special

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, a day that can cause some, especially those who are single, to have feelings of sadness and anxiety. TV commercials selling diamonds, flowers, chocolate, and even cars began to show up almost a month ago, commercials filled with people depicting perfect, everlasting love. It’s a day filled with a lot of expectations because of all the hype. It’s hard, both for those in relationships and those single, not to compare ourselves to the loving couples shown in the commercials. We may feel a sense of deep loss if our lives don’t measure up to the diamond commercials or greeting card commercials. Please remember, these are paid actors selling products. 

Watching all the commercials on TV can make you feel like you’re the only single person in the world. After all, every ten minutes or so you see a loving couple filling your screen. Well it can’t be true that everyone else in the world is in a wonderful relationship. Even those who are married or are in a relationship may not feel so lucky or happy. This is the perfect time to call some of your single friends for a reality check and to plan to have dinner together either to mark the event or just because it’s Friday. 

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Being single on Valentine’s Day may have you thinking you’re unworthy of love or unlovable. You may worry that you’ll never find someone to love or someone who will love you. If you’re in an unhappy relationship you may feel the same way. There is no such thing as being unlovable.  Everyone has the potential of being loved by others. Just try not to compare yourself with the people you see on your television or movie screen. Who of us looks like the actors in commercials or romance movies? Who of us has brilliant writers writing our lines for us? But yet, we’re all lovable. Do you really know anyone who has a relationship that’s like those portrayed in the movies or on commercials?

Are you single and want to find someone with whom you can enter into a relationship? If so, what are you doing to facilitate that? Are you on dating websites? Have you joined anything that you enjoy where your chances of meeting someone are greater than if you stay at home? This isn’t an article on where to find love, but try to join a group, a club, or take a class. If you do something you enjoy you’re likely to find others who enjoy similar things. I always tell people not to enter into these situations thinking or hoping they’ll find the person of their dreams, but rather thinking they will meet the person who will someday introduce them to someone with whom they can have a loving relationship. That takes the pressure off and will help you to relax in new situations.

Now let’s talk about the commercials selling us products for Valentine’s Day. After all, isn’t that the only purpose of commercials, to sell a product? Do you need someone else to buy you flowers, chocolates, or jewelry? Of course it’s nice to have someone else pay the bill for these things, and it’s nice to receive gifts, but you can be sure that you’ll get that perfect piece of jewelry or the chocolates you really love if you buy them for yourself! How about buying some chocolates or flowers for a single friend? I’ll bet you’ll make their day. Perhaps you want to have a grab bag of these kinds of gifts with your single friends or a “secret cupid” kind of gift exchange with them like you may have done during the holidays.

What better excuse to pamper yourself than Valentine’s Day? Or better yet, what better excuse to pamper yourself than because it’s Friday? Get a facial, a massage, rent that movie you’ve been dying to see. And if you prefer to have company, ask a friend to join you.

If you are worried that you’ll be sad, let your friends and family know. Let them know you’d like them to either be with you or to check in with you. People won’t know what you need unless you tell them.

Volunteering is a great way to be around people and to feel good about yourself. And what better day to volunteer that on Valentine’s Day? You’ll be sure to warm people’s hearts and make them feel special. 

Please remember, Valentine’s Day is a day magnified in importance by flower shops, jewelry shops, etc. They are trying to sell products by using good looking actors pretending to be madly in love. Looking at it that way may help you avoid focusing on how your life is different than those on the screen. 

Linda Walter, L.C.S.W., is a psychotherapist with more than 25 years of experience. Her private practice is located in NYC and Westchester, NY.

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