As a little girl, I always wanted to be the princess falling in love and living “happily ever after.”
When I was a teenager, I watched romance movies that showed toxic relationships presented as love.
I believed that the only way to truly be happy was to be in a relationship. That’s what we’re taught to believe, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
For people in healthy relationships, Valentine’s Day can be a great way to celebrate the love they have for one another. But for many, this is a day that brings feelings of insecurity and depression, as many struggle with the idea of being single.
What’s the problem with being single? When looking at it objectively, the idea of doing what we want when we want seems pretty ideal. Being in a relationship with another person is a lot more work than being alone.
But it’s not that simple.
From Disney princess movies to romance comedies, it’s no surprise that most people really value falling in love. Many people looking for a relationship, however, aren’t actually looking for a relationship. They want the idea of a relationship that society creates. They want the cute pictures they see on Instagram, and the chocolates and flowers on Valentine’s Day that they think represents a relationship.
While relationships can be really great, they come with a lot of compromise, communication and hard times that people don’t always take into consideration. They aren’t always the sunshine and rainbows that they present themselves to be.
When people are desperate for a relationship, what they are really looking for is just someone to love them. They are looking for someone to validate them as they likely have not gotten that validation in their past.
Many spend most of their thoughts and energy on pursuing a relationship, in hopes that their partner will be able to provide the things they can’t provide for themselves. This also pushes people to jump into relationships that they don’t align with because they want to avoid loneliness.
A relationship will not solve those feelings.
Hoping a relationship will fix the struggles is like putting a bandaid on a pipe burst. It might stick for a moment, but once the tension builds a little, it will explode. If people rely on a relationship for happiness, then they will never be able to feel secure when they are alone.
That’s why learning to love yourself is key to feeling stable without a relationship.
Therapy can be crucial to learning how to feel sure in yourself. The first step is recognizing the problem and addressing where the feeling of needing a relationship stems from. This can be from trauma in childhood or past relationships. Whatever the reason may be, it plays a great role in how future relationships may play out. It’s important for people to know who they are and what they want in order to find a relationship that really suits them.
There’s also a lot more to this world than being in a relationship. Learning to love yourself can open your eyes to finding things in life to find joy in. Through my self-love journey, I was able to recognize the love I have for life and the things I am passionate about. I am able to express my love through my interests and make the world a more positive place.
Valentine’s Day is meant to be a day of love — not sadness. Spread a little love. We all could use it.