This year there will be 11 million people who will be single on Valentines Day in Canada. For many, this spells a death sentence: another day absent of companionship and the very companionship they are missing is everywhere on this cursed day in February. For many other singles, including myself, the 14th is a day of self reflection and care. This practice of self-love or self-dating may seem lonely and strange to some outside viewers, but it actually promotes self-confidence and is proven to be a much healthier emotional outlet for the lonely hearts on Valentines Day than avoidance or repression.
First things first: what is self-love? What constitutes a date for one? The answer to that depends on you. Simply put it is whatever you want to do, and you look your best while doing it. It could be seeing that movie that you finally want to see, it could be finally going to that fancy restaurant downtown, or seeing that specular sunset from the top of the Peak in Dundas. Anything that you’ve ever wanted to do on a date but never got a chance to – this is your chance. You dress up as much as you want, (I find for me the classier the better), and you go out as your best self.
While you’re out, it may feel strange at first, being surrounded by couples while you are alone. It may feel a little awkward, at first, but you need to remind yourself – this is your “you time”. This is your experience and you have to listen to what you need. You can laugh when you need to laugh, cry when you need to cry, leave when you want to leave. You can release yourself completely. You are with “someone” who understands all of your quirks and wants and desires as soon as you do, who’s been there with you for your lowest lows and your highest highs. It’s someone who you know, and will continue to get to know – who knows, you might even learn something new about yourself on your date.
A date can take many forms. You can go out for drinks the for the night, or start the umpteenth Friends marathon with pizza and wine in bed, or both in one night. It’s up to you. This self love doesn’t mean flaunting yourself or forcing yourself to go out, it’s all about the things you know will make you happiest; the dates you never got to have.
I remember a self date I had was an hour long bubble bath, complete with candles, music, mood lighting, and pizza. I then took an hour to get dressed in my most stylish outfit and went out and saw that one movie that I wanted to, but no one would go with me. I finished it off with a quiet walk downtown, which was completely empty. I went home, did some writing, and felt recharged and refreshed.
The important part of a self-date comes at the end, when you have a quiet moment, and you’re winding down from your date and you just reflect. You reflect on all the times you felt alone, or all the times you felt like you were on top of the world. You think of the inner demons you battled, and the fears you overcame, and all the secrets and concerns you have, then, and this is important, you don’t judge them. You just let them float away like clouds in an endless blue sky. You don’t assign them any power over you, you’re just reflecting, and it’s in this mindfulness practice that you really begin to understand what makes you tick. You use this time to cry or scream or do whatever you need to do to reflect on these emotions, these experiences, these wounds, and then you just let them go. This may seem like a daunting prospect, but I can assure you, these things feel a lot better once you’ve unpacked them – cleaned the wound so to say.
This is not a time to get yourself down, or focus on all the mistakes you may have made over your lifetime, this is a chance to appreciate who you are, all of the twists and turns and bumps that makes up the road map of your life.
Try a self date this Valentine’s Day, trust me, you’re worth it.