The thought of never again receiving a Valentine’s card from my husband almost made me drop to the floor in agony. All those other women out there would be receiving a card, flowers or being taken out for a meal, and in my house, nothing would happen because my husband was dead.
“It’s not okay!’ I screamed. It was only ten weeks since he had died, and I was still raw with grief. The very thought of Valentine’s Day just made me want to run away and hide.
Now, six years on, and it is all quite different. What I’ve discovered is that there are some things to pay attention to that really help and I’ve listed them below.
So if you are on your own, whether by choice or not, then here’s some suggestions for practical actions you can take that will help you on this particular day.
- Designate it a day of self-love. Decide that on the hour, every hour, you will remind yourself of how wonderful you are. Set your phone with a message that will pop up to affirm your beauty, your courage, your general gorgeousness.
- Give yourself a gift.. This could be the same kind of gift you have received in the past, or something completely different. It may cost a lot, or nothing at all, the amount simply does not matter. The love with which it is given to yourself does, so make sure it is something (or an experience) that you really will cherish.
- Take yourself off into nature. Walking in the woods, by the sea, in the sand, or the water – all of these have healing properties simply by you being there. Let yourself open to the timeless wisdom of nature, let yourself open to the love that is expressed in the varying forms in the natural world. Go slow and appreciate your surroundings.
- Choose to be with family and/or friends. Remind yourself that you are loved by these people. Make Valentine’s Day a day to celebrate ALL love between all people, not just romantic love.
- Be creative. Let your inner child out to play with colours, shapes, glue, stickers, paper – whatever takes your fancy. Without deciding what you’re going to make, see what emerges. Let go and have fun!
- Do something completely different. Make this day a day where you demonstrate love in a different way – either towards yourself or towards another. Forget about cards, romantic meals for two, focusing on the form – think instead of wacky experiences, unusual gifts (to yourself!) and letting joy be present.
- Be kind to yourself. More than anything, whatever action (or non-action) you take, bring kindness to bear. Give to someone else – that can be one of the greatest acts of kindness to them, as well as to yourself.
Finally, make sure you put on your rose-tinted glasses first thing in the morning. See everyone and everything around you through these, and you will find it much easier to focus on what you have got, rather than what you haven’t. The world looks wonderful through these glasses, I know, because I look out through them all the time.
And if you do want to give a present to someone, here’s an unusual one:a copy of the Before I Go: Practical Questions to Ask and Answer Before You Die Workbook.This is one of the most loving things you can give anyone, albeit unusual and you will possibly cause a few raised eyebrows!But that gives an opportunity for a conversation about the topic – so it’s all good.