The Painful Reminder Valentine’s Day Brings
Today is Valentine’s Day.
It’s a holiday specifically for couples and families to all get together and be around those that they love the most. Much like with Christmas
But much like Christmas these days, these specific holidays can be painful reminders. Painful emotional reminders.
Despite being around people that we love and care about, more and more people are feeling alone.
Between the number of interviews and a survey asking 692 people across the country conducted by Gunny Scarfo and his research partner found that many Americans do feel isolated.
45 percent dream of deep emotional connections only to wake up and not have those people to share those deep connections with.
30 percent feel unsatisfied that they aren’t able to open themselves up around other people.
8 percent don’t have a single close friend they can confide in.
And one in four do not believe they have a single person in their lives in whom they can truly be themselves around.
And while that may not be enough to represent the whole American population, it’s definitely relatable.
People make a habit of filtering their lives through all the group pictures or couple shots.
Many people feel reluctant or hesitant in announcing they are gay, lesbian, queer, or transgender.
And a survey run by Cigna on loneliness that asked 200,000 reported almost half feeling lonely on any given day.
All in all, people feel a lot of their relationships feel fake or that they feel restricted in and that causes some deep emotional issues.
People who can’t express themselves properly feel repressed and that can develop into frustration, anger, hatred, and maybe even violence. Not being able to express oneself in any manner is hard.
And Valentine’s Day can be a painful reminder. It’s a day where we’re supposed to be around the people we care and love for.
And we may not truly love or appreciate those peoples company.
So what should we do?
We’re at a growing point where more and more people are feeling this way. It’s no longer something only a small pocket of people are experiencing. It’s developing into an epidemic.
And people need to be acting and changing.
First, Act Accordingly
An article written by Anthony Moore last year sums up a lot of the problems people have relationships with friends, family, and partners. It’s a lengthy read but in short, a lot of people have poor relationships because they have no clue how to act.
People don’t know how to give and receive love (i.e. understand and act based on the 5 love languages).
People lack the courage to make the first move.
Most people are more focused on themselves and what they can get rather than being open.
Some people struggle to air out their problems and let them heal.
The list goes on but it boils down to people having fears, worries and doubts. And those can be developed by certain expectations.
Societal norms, family traditions, family history.
These sorts of restrictions can make people feel they need to act a certain way or if they do something the wrong way, they’ll be punished for it. Or if they try to do something crazy like being alone on Valentine’s Day they’ll be considered an outcast.
And that’s not really good behaviour.
Secondly, Begin Embracing
Many of the norms and beliefs that we have are dated while ones that progressive and new are not that embraced. This creates a lot of friction and issues.
Valentine’s Day was a holiday revolving around heterosexual union. Back in the day, there used to be lotteries where women were paired up with men based on the luck of the draw. It was a celebration of Spring and fertility and upholding what is “normal.”
But today that’s not the case.
People have developed new values. Some men are attracted to other men. Some women are attracted to other women. And some men feel more like a woman and some women feel more like a man.
And I believe it’s important for us to embrace that fact. We don’t need to change ourselves if we feel that who we are interested in sexually and who we are right now feels right. But we need to accept the fact that how we feel about those things isn’t the norm.
It’s how we feel about that situation. And others may feel differently and wish to change.
And it’s up to us to embrace that.
Because the more that we restrict, deny, and cry “this is how it should be” the more resistance there will be.
And it’s why today, people are slowly coming around to the idea of being alone on Valentine’s Day.
Yes, it is absolutely lonely and I believe it’s important to be around those we do love and appreciate. But sometimes the only person we really appreciate in our lives is solely ourselves.
And Valentine’s Day can be an opportunity for us to reflect on ourselves on a deeper level. Figure out what our goals are, keep ourselves company, and lift ourselves up.
Finally, Begin Taking Action
And all of these things come back to us taking those steps. We won’t get anywhere if we continue to let things be the way things are.
People should be able to express themselves. Whether it’s something deep like “I’m gay/lesbian/queer/transgender.” or something simple as “I screwed something up.”
Being able to have an environment or confide in a person who can accept those things is liberating and it all comes to us checking our ideals, and values and questioning whether we feel right thinking these things. Not to mention being able to understand where both parties are coming from and being able to explain things calmly without sounding condescending.
But then we need to move this outwards in our relationships. Start focusing on helping other people, getting other people to understand, and being more selfless.
Valentine’s Day is a day for me to really look at myself. I’ve been single for over a decade now and while I’m certainly a man I still can relate to the loneliness that some people feel around this day.
But I see this day as an opportunity to look at ourselves deeply and consider the connections that we have. But above all ask ourselves:
“How can we love the people in this world more?”