For those alone on Valentines
WE LOVE YOU.
Dear Ones —
The fantastic graphic designer Emily McDowell (www.emilymcdowell.com) made this card, as a Valentine for a friend who might not have a Valentine right now, and who might be feeling sad about that.
I’m so touched by it. There is such love and kindness in this.
First of all, I should say this: Any of you who happen to spending this Valentine’s Day with the love of your life, God bless you. Enjoy every minute of it. Eat that chocolate. Drink that champagne. Put those roses in a crystal vase and stand back and admire them. We are happy for you.
Now. As for everyone else…
Sometimes it seems like Valentine’s Day was specifically invented to make a whole bunch of people feel kind of bad about themselves. I don’t like this aspect of the holiday.
There have been times in my life when I have been happy in a relationship, and other times when I have been deeply unhappily in a relationtionship. (Miserable, really. As they say, “There is sometimes nothing lonelier than the number two.”)
There have also been times when I have been very happy alone, and other times when I was deeply unhappily alone.
In other words, I am familiar with all the possibilities here, when it comes to love and happiness and unhappiness. I’ve tried it all.
We are complicated, and we can feel many things at many different times in our lives. We can feel sassy and independent at times, and soft and co-dependent at other times. But here’s something I know to be true, beucase I have experienced it: Sometimes, the fact is, we feel lonely.
It’s OK sometimes to feel lonely. We’ve all felt it. We’ve all had times where, even though we are doing well, and we are kicking ass in the world, and we are grateful for all the blessings in our life, and we are taking brilliant care of ourselves, there are times when we wonder, “Where is my partner? Where is my love? Why haven’t I found someone?”
It’s not like you feel like you need to be COMPLETED, for heaven’s sake. You know better than that. We all do. But sometimes people get lonely.
There is nothing wrong or strange about feeling this way. This is what it’s like to have a human heart. But at such times in life, let’s just admit it: Valentine’s Day SUCKS.
On any Valentine’s Day that happens to fall at a time in life when you are feeling the wrong kind of alone (not the great kind of alone, which is a very real experience, as well), the whole day can bum you out.
At such times, the kindest thing a friend can tell you is what Emily has written on the card below. At such moments, you don’t really need your best friend to say pragmatic things like, “I’m sure you can always take care of yourself!” or “Dude, you don’t need to define yourself by your relationships status”, or “You’re too modern a person to care about these dumb labels that society makes up, anyhow!”
When you are feeling kind of lonely, you don’t need someone to quote divorce statistics, or remind you of how lousy so many relationships are, or say, “Hey, Valentine’s Day is just an artificially-manufactured holiday, created by marketers to sell cheap chocolates and greeting cards!”
At such times, you don’t need a friend who will judge you for what you might want. Nobody should ever judge anybody for what they might want.
At such times, you really need a friend who will say, “I love you, and someday you will find a partner who will love you as much as I love you.”
It’s just nice to hear. Especially when it is said with certainty.
(I know it’s nice to hear, because there were times in my life when I had friends who said these words to me, and I was grateful.)
I mean, of course you know that you are FINE. You are better than fine. You are awesome, and you know that. We all know that. You’re STUPENDOUS, and you will always be stupendous. Whatever happens. You know that, right? We all know that.
But still. It’s a weird holiday, and these words of certainty and love can be nice to hear.
So, in conclusion:
For all of you who are happy in your relationships right now, I send you love.
For all of you who are unhappy in your relationships right now, I send you love.
For all you who are happy to be alone right now, I send you love.
But for all of you who are unhappy to be alone right now, we ALL send you love. Today all of us (all the big-hearted friends in this generous and sweet community) will say it together: “You are amazing, and we love you. We hope someday you find the person that you long to find. Until then, you have us.”
Then you can go back to being awesome. Which you are.
(And thank you, Emily McDowell, for always doing such beautiful and soulful work. WE LOVE YOU, TOO!)
LG (Elizabeth Gilbert)