When I was a teenager, Valentine’s Day just seemed to be one more reminder of the fact that I didn’t have a boyfriend. It was another chance for all the cheerleaders and the like to show off how beautiful they were and how much all the guys wanted them. Ugh! Much of my college years were fraught with the same reminder of how inadequate I was, unattractive, unlovable…blah, blah, blah. For a long time after those tumultuous years that were filled with insecurity, constant comparisons and chronic self-doubt, Valentine’s Day was a mixed bag of something to get through intertwined with a sense of relief that I had someone.
To this day, I hate the pressure that Valentine’s Day puts on teenagers, girls, boys, women, and men, cis and non-cis. The pressure for girls and women to have a boyfriend or man in their lives is constant. This pressure sets females up to doubt themselves without a male at their side. Don’t get me wrong, I love sharing my life with my husband and I think nice boyfriends for teens and single women are great. Males, though, should be an addition to a female’s life, not the completion of her life or the rubber stamp that proves a female’s worth. Similarly, the pressure for men and boys to need to “prove” they’re a man by how many girls they have hanging on them is toxic to everyone involved in that chase.
Contrary to our culture’s pressure, I want all those who are single to enjoy Valentine’s Day for what it is, a day to be grateful for all the love in your life—the love of friends, family, co-workers and self. If you happen to be single on this day—this year or in any of the years to come—take some time to love and appreciate you. Don’t for a moment think less of yourself on this day (or any other day) simply because some people have an unhealthy notion that being yourself isn’t enough. It is absolutely enough. Embrace yourself and never allow the pressure to not be alone push you into being with someone who doesn’t treat you well. When you do choose someone, be sure they enhance your life rather than damage it.
For me personally, somewhere along the line, I stopped the fretting, self-doubt and emotional self-abuse and began to see the big “V Day” as a simple reminder to be grateful for all the love in my life—regardless of the source. I feel incredibly blessed to say that I am extremely grateful for the love and support of my family, extended family, friends, colleagues and for you my readers and supporters. May each and every one of you have an amazing Valentine’s Day filled with zero self-doubt, much love and a grounded peace that comes about from truly knowing you are worthy with or without others around you.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all those married, single and in-between.