By Jami McDermott, B.S. Speech Comm., Outreach Coordinator
Seasonal holidays offer a wonderful opportunity to express affection and create lasting memories by exchanging gifts, planning special outings, and writing heartfelt notes. The joy experienced during these festive times is mutual, making everyone involved feel cherished and appreciated. However, once the holiday season comes to an end, a common phenomenon known as the “Holiday Blues or Winter Blues” may set in, leaving a sense of emptiness as everyday routines resume.
This transition from the lively chaos of November and December to the quiet cold of January and February can be challenging. The excitement of the holidays fades, and the new year often brings with it resolutions that seem impossible to keep while the cold weather keeps people indoors, bundled up and seeking warmth.
Valentine’s Day Can Further Emphasize Loneliness
While Valentine’s Day serves as a light of warmth and love for many, it can stir up feelings of emptiness and loneliness for those who do not have someone to share the celebration with. The emphasis on romantic love during this time might lead to self-contempt and a sense of exclusion. However, it’s important to recognize that Valentine’s Day doesn’t solely have to revolve around romantic relationships.
Shifting the Focus to Self-Love
A modern approach to this holiday involves shifting the focus to self-love. This is not the celebration of “self” where we promote ourselves with every movement through the lens of filters for the purpose of “likes” and followings, but the kind of self-love that loves it all – every scar, every unique, imperfect part of yourself.
In an age where we promote flawless lives, it is hard to see the beauty in our imperfections and scars, but they all tell a unique story. Some are created through bad decisions, some are circumstantial, and some have been inflicted through pain without choice. Regardless of how they came to be, they must be accepted with compassion and understanding. These are not things of shame but a testimonial of strength, growth, and experience leading to a beautifully imperfect you.
The trick is to love these imperfections and flaws even when society teaches only to show the side of yourself that receives ‘likes.’ Life is filled with noise, responsibilities, and choices, and we are all doing the best that we can. However, mistakes will be made with or without intention. Amidst the challenges, unexpected situations, such as an unplanned pregnancy, may trigger negative self-thoughts. The purest kind of love you can hold for yourself during these times is to own your part, forgive (including yourself), adjust, and move forward! Embracing your imperfections and navigating through unexpected turns in life with self-compassion becomes a testament to the strength and resilience within you.
Cultivating an Inner Love
Romantic love often focuses on external connections with others, while self-love is an internal, personal relationship with oneself. Romantic love may fluctuate based on external circumstances, but self-love remains a constant, providing a stable foundation. Every moment, we are evolving, changing, and growing, so have faith in your journey.
The love you hold for yourself is reflected in what you do and say, so engage in self-love practices. Surround yourself with sound, wise people who will encourage, challenge, and love you enough to say “no” to you. Be aware of the words you use to describe yourself. If you can’t speak with positive words about yourself, why would others?
Valentine’s Day for Appreciating Yourself
Instead of feeling a void due to the absence of a romantic partner, use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to appreciate and care for yourself. Pampering activities, self-reflection, or pursuing personal passions can turn the day into a celebration of individual worth.
By shifting the narrative from external validation to self-affirmation, Valentine’s Day becomes a chance for personal growth and self-compassion. Embracing the concept of self-love not only alleviates the feelings of emptiness but also empowers individuals to find fulfillment and happiness within themselves.
Ultimately, whether celebrating with a significant other, friends, or alone, Valentine’s Day can be a meaningful occasion for fostering love and connection, starting with the most important relationship of all – the one with oneself.