This piece talks about the pressures of being with someone, that Valentine’s Day imposes and how to be kind to yourself during this time.
It is ‘that time of the year’ when couples are running to buy gifts, or planning something special to do. Restaurants and cafes, like Diggin, are decorated with cutesy hearts, danglers, polaroid pictures, sweet notes and balloons. Zomato, Swiggy and others will start offering themed one-plus-one discounts for couples. That one couple who has been together for almost a decade will post hashtag couple goals stories.
But it’s incorrect to reduce the idea of Valentine’s Day to just these things. Many of us are single, separated, divorced. Many of us have different choices and identity preferences. The ‘sadness’ attached to not being with someone is what we have been conditioned to feel. Valentine’s Day can often make us nostalgic for our previous relationship and remind us of our breakup. This one day is less dedicated to couples but, is more of a dread to those who are not with someone.
Differing from those who show pity, I will talk about breakups and how to not succumb to the nostalgia. Fluffy red pillows all over malls, almost as if these were red alerts, raising an alarming reaction about how you do not have someone to buy one for you. You do not really want someone to buy this for you, but, the pressure of not having someone.. feels incomplete. Feeling lonely, unloved, low and how you are missing out on something so important- your other half. The rom-coms flooding Netflix, during this time, will only remind you of how ‘everyone’ at this age has someone. Flashbacks of your sweet moments will return at random moments.
Moving on is hard and very often people use one of the two ways to do so. The first is full of unhealthy, temporarily satisfying and regressive ways. This includes calling or hooking up with your ex, sober or drunk. Entering several relationships successively to avoid feeling lonely. Making attempts to get back together with your ex, despite sufficient red flags asking you to walk the other way. The second is rare and slow, but healthy and helpful in the long run. It involves taking some time off to heal, accept, learn and grow. Due to the compulsions of being with
‘someone’, we make the mistake of viewing things with a biased lens.
Firstly, on how everyone in a relationship is necessarily happy. We only focus on what we see, and people only post the best, filtered, and happiest moments. The fights and struggles of being with someone are hidden behind. Secondly, the idea that the only way to feel loved, is to have a romantic partner should be challenged. Many forms of love exist, you’ll find some qualities in a friend, some in your parent or sibling. Thirdly, after someone is gone, there is a void that exists. But now you get to invest that time in things you want to do. Fourthly, you learn many things from the experience of any relationship. You see what your likes and expectations are, you do not depend on external sources of validation, you learn to spot the red flags and, you know what your worth is.
Lastly, you’ll learn to build your own support system. Your priority often centers around the person you’re in a relationship with. This comes at a cost, where you lose out on older connections. This is your chance to reconnect with those. But also, to spend that time with your friends and family.
But if not any of this, make this day about yourself. Maybe you have been working too hard lately, maybe you haven’t taken a holiday in a while, and maybe you have not stopped for a second to look back at your efforts and achievements. If not with someone else, you deserve one good day to yourself feel special. Once in a while, it’s good to be reminded of your intelligence, strength and efforts, and who better to do all these things than you and your loved ones?
In the end, one thing you should know is that it is okay to be single. Spend this day with someone special, just define your own idea of who is special. Reconnect with a school friend, go out with your parents, watch a movie alone, or even make dinner plans with a classmate. As Christina had said to Meredith, “you are the sun” and its time that you redefine aspects of your life according to your own terms. And to those who do, more strength to you.
Featured Image Credits: DU Beat Archives