My Unexpected Valentine
You are not perfect. In fact, I don’t know anyone as imperfect as you but you are still worth loving and I used to forget that, sometimes I still do. You’ve fought through a lot in your life, somehow managing to triumph and come out on top. Sure, it wasn’t always easy but you never gave up—you fought for me in ways no one ever has.
You know everything about me from my favorite flower to my favorite song. You know exactly what makes me tick. You’ve seen me on my best days, but more importantly you’ve seen me at my worst. You know what I look like as soon as I wake up in the morning before all the makeup, hair brushing, and fancy clothes. You’ve seen my scars, felt my pain, and have been consumed in my happiness. You’re selfless, tender-hearted, and gentle. You work hard for everything you want, and you refuse to give up when things don’t go your way. There are days where you hate me, where you wish you could change me, where you compare me and don’t think I’m good enough. But, in the end there are more days you love me than days that you don’t and those are the ones that stand out and make a difference.
You know what it takes to make me happy in ways no one else ever can, you have helped shape me into an amazing person and you’re truly the only person that has always been there. It was all of these reasons, collectively, that brought me to the realization that I have always loved you but always seemed to overlook it; constantly focusing on everyone else around me. This year you are, unexpectedly, my valentine. But, next year and every year after it, it will be known and hopefully the world will follow suit.
It’s me. The only person in the world who knows every dark and dusty corner of my soul and continues to love me not despite my flaws, but because of them. The only person that will be with me from the day that I am born to the day that I die. There is no escaping me and that used to be frightening. But now it’s relieving.
For a large chunk of my life I wished there was another source of love. I wished for someone to love me intimately so I wouldn’t have to be alone on what is meant to be a holiday full of affection and happiness, but more often inflicts self deprecation and hatred. But, what I’ve found in recent months is that no one knows me as intimately as I know myself and I’ve found that my favorite kind of love is the kind that stems from within me. It’s the kind of love you can’t duplicate or replace, the kind I truly would die without. With the love I feel for myself now, I can’t help but wonder why Valentine’s Day used to make me feel so awful.
I guess it’s the way you can’t avoid it. You can easily avoid mistletoes, and I guess it doesn’t feel like that big of a deal when the clock strikes midnight on the first of the year and there’s no one to kiss. But there’s something about being surrounded by roses, chocolates, and the color pink for entire month that highlights your seemingly perpetual singularity.
There seems to be a serious correlation in the rise in sales of chocolates, roses, and teddy bears and the exponential decline of your self-esteem. You’re enveloped, no suffocated, by the ideals of romance and love while the commercialism of another “Hallmark” holiday is shoved in your face without choice.
When I learned to love myself—I shifted my perspective on Valentine’s Day. I no longer feel as if I’m missing out on anything. I know now that I don’t need a day on the calendar to tell me when I can express love and emotion. The greatest part about loving myself is knowing what I deserve and how I should be treated. I’ve begun to live my life treating myself when I choose. I’ll buy flowers for my apartment without hesitation or feeling silly. I’ll dress up for myself and go to dinner on my own—never being too cheap on what I want to eat. I indulge in what I love for myself, by myself, because that’s how I deserve to be treated. It’s more than refreshing to know that you don’t need another person to be shown that you’re loved.
I get it, the desire to love and be loved is natural. But, sometimes it’s that very search that takes the biggest toll on our heart and soul. While we stand by and watch everyone we know falling in love we tend to become discouraged, feel lonely, and subconsciously convince ourselves that not only are we not good enough now, but we never will be, and therefore we will die alone.
Just because someone isn’t loving you openly at the moment, doesn’t mean no one ever will. I can’t tell you when that special person is going to come along and when you’ll finally feel loved, and I certainly can’t tell you who your soul mate is. But, here’s what I can tell you: If you choose to love yourself right now then you will love and be loved every day for the rest of your life.
So for this Valentine’s day—single or not, spend your time and money on yourself. Treat yourself, be yourself, and remind yourself why you are so worth loving. Your world won’t end if you don’t have a Valentine, but a whole new world can begin if you shift your perspective and decide to love yourself as you would a valentine.
This article appeared in the February issue of The Vindicator. The online version of the issue is here!