By Keisa Sharpe-Jefferson
There are certain images that commonly circulate around Valentines’ Day.
Red hearts are an incredibly popular and iconic symbol of a couple being “in love.” Then there are the myriad of images of chocolates, roses and other gifts for that special someone.
All are common images. All are fair images. All point to a tradition that overwhelmingly celebrates two instead of one.
So, with all of the hoopla (and savvy marketing) surrounding the “day of love” for couples, what is a single person to do in order to celebrate?
I’m glad you asked.
My simple suggestion for the single Valentine? Just be.
Give yourself permission this year to enjoy all that is you and revel in the sheer freedom that this stage of life affords you.
And instead of looking at what’s missing, count what’s present in your life at this very moment in time.
Really, you have a golden opportunity to explore and celebrate all that is you single Valentine.
Create a nice meal just for you.
Buy your favorite box of chocolates and watch a fantastic flick.
Double up on a gorgeous bouquet of roses and place them around your home.
There’s power and freedom in shifting your perspective and prioritizing you.
It’s easy to focus on the idea of perfect love while looking outside – involving another person giving us all the time, attention and gifts we desire while professing what we mean to them. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that desire.
But don’t despair if you’re not there (in a relationship) just yet.
When you begin to look inside, you understand that by the very nature of your existence, you are an expression of God’s love.
How powerful is that?
The Bible tells us that we – each of us- are fearfully and wonderfully made. There is no one else quite like you.
That in and of itself is reason alone to celebrate. I simply choose to believe and I pray you do as well.
So, you may wonder how I can express this mindset with such ease given I am no longer single.
That’s because I spent most of my adult life in the single state and I learned to appreciate all that it offered.
Did I ever feel lonely? I sure did. But I allowed myself to feel those temporary emotions knowing that just as the days passed, those feelings would move aside too.
Did jealous feelings ever surface seeing couples post photos on social media? They sure did. But I garnered enough wisdom to understand that in spite of pretty pictures, both couples and singles face challenges in life. This is without exception.
Did I ever get tired of waiting on “the one” before I eventually married? I sure did. But I made a conscious decision to use my time wisely (traveling, enjoying life and studying successful relationships), knowing it would help me become a better spouse when the time did arrive.
I come from a place of absolute sincerity here.
Trust me when I tell you that I know the complexities of being a single, Black female on an intricate level.
But I also determined that I would value myself and master that state of my life, regardless of how long I stayed there. And I did.
Truth be told, I’d made many mistakes in relationships.
I determined not to blame anyone, but rather, to learn from it all in order to become a better person when the relationship manifested.
I shifted my perspective.
Instead of viewing the single state as a curse, I determined to be a blessing to myself and others by volunteering in ministry, spending valuable time with friends and family and taking up new hobbies.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, we will be bombarded with images of what society deems love.
No shade on any of our couples, but I issue a gentle reminder for singles.
Love begins with you.
Treat yourself. Be gentle with yourself. And most importantly, love yourself.
You’ll be laying an exceptional foundation for the relationship that you’ll enter one day.
Know that I’m cheering for you.