One of the most dreaded days of social media is here.
Which means, are you ready to have your self worth tested?
Here’s how the day usually plays out.
When you’re single:
You wake up, thinking it’s a normal day. You open up Instagram before getting out of bed, and see a “candid" wedding photo. Then another. And another. It’s one happy couple after the next. You realize it’s Valentine’s Day and your heart sinks. Each “how did I get so lucky?” caption subconsciously reinforcing that you’re not worthy enough to have someone write a long caption about you. You tell yourself that if you were thinner, then you’d have someone to post about. Or if you were younger. Or if he wasn’t such an asshole. Or if she didn’t steal him away. It’s been 20 minutes of scrolling before work, yet you don’t know why you feel so lousy throughout the morning. Despite feeling ‘blah’, you get on Instagram again during lunch. You see more happy couples, a reminder of how unhappy you are. You feel inadequate. You finish off the day making yourself a grilled cheese for dinner, go to your room at your parents’ house, turn on Netflix and pretend that your loneliness doesn’t exist. You go to sleep wondering when you’re going to be worthy enough for someone to choose you.
Or, if you’re in a relationship:
You wake up, hoping this will finally be the year Valentine’s Day feels more special than a normal day. You remember what past Valentine’s days were like-when you two were smitten and treated each other to expensive gifts. You reminisce on how happy you both were back then, and convince yourself that little spark will come back today. I mean, after all, everyone on Facebook says they feel that spark on Valentine’s Day, right? Your partner over sleeps, and rushes to work without saying “Happy Valentine’s Day, Hunny!” You tell yourself the rush of the morning made them forget. You pretend you don’t feel your heart deflate a little. On Instagram, everyone is celebrating their love, so you decide to post also, feeling grateful that you have someone to share the day with. You look forward to your partner’s post, but feel hurt when you’re not tagged in anything. You tell yourself it doesn’t matter, that the rest of the night will be special, masking your disappointment. Your partner gets home from work, and you give them the special gift you spent days planning. You receive a teddy bear from CVS in exchange. You were hoping for a romantic dinner, but instead got Chinese food and Netflix on the couch, the same thing you’ve done 10,000 other nights. You’re bored so you go on social media and see mushy cards, candles dinners, big bouquets, and fancy gifts. You feel defeated and call it an early night, wondering why you’re not worthy enough to keep the romance alive, at least on Valentine’s day.
Regardless of your relationship status, Valentine’s day can leave you feeling low. Deflated. Unworthy. And social media adds another layer of overwhelm when you’re comparing your life to everyone else’s. Valentine’s Day reveals insecurities and unrealistic expectations. And instead of catching these things, you’re too busy using every candid photo and mushy caption as a means to further confirm that you are, in fact, not worthy.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be another way you convince yourself everyone else has it better off. You can switch your mindset, and give yourself what you need to prevent the downward shame spiral you experience every year.
Here are some tips to change your perspective so that you can scroll without allowing it to shake your self worth. I’m positive a new perspective and mindset shift will help you keep your spirit light, and your self worth high. Because Valentine’s Day is a day for love. And yes, even love for yourself love counts.
Tips to Surviving Valentine’s Day…even if you’re in a relationship
1. Say it with me, “I am worthy regardless of my relationship status”.
I know you’re tired of hearing this one, but there’s a reason why it’s repeated so often. Because a majority of people are still waiting for their life to start until they have a partner hanging on their arm. Our society puts partnership on a pedestal. It is ENGRAINED in our belief system because we grow up watching Disney princesses being saved by Prince Charming, and Kate Hudson getting the guy at the end of every rom-com. Watching that same story line repeatedly has instilled in us that we need another to complete us. Despite how rooted this belief might be for you, you have to challenge the narrative in your mind that the only purpose of life is to be in a relationship. There are much more fulfilling and satisfying goals you can strive. Goals that provide happiness and joy regardless of if you have a partner or not. If you feel unworthy outside of a relationship, get down to the root of why you feel like you need someone to complete you.
2. You are worthy even without a Galentine’s Day celebration.
The theory behind Galentine’s Day is great, to empower woman to be happy without a partner. However, I still believe it’s yet another thing that makes people feel alone and compare themself to others. And when Galentine’s Day is used as a way for unhappy women to release their bitterness about being single, then it defeats the purpose. There are healthier ways to harness that jealousy. So if you’re not a part of an extravagant Galentine’s Day extravaganza, don’t allow it to make you feel secluded. You are still WORTHY.
3. It is O K A Y to feel lonely.
Honor your emotions. Loneliness is just a feeling. The only reason you feel the need to run from it is because you bought into a narrative of what you think loneliness means. Loneliness does not mean there is something wrong with you, or that you are not enough. That is just a narrative you put on an emotion. Understand that you can feel loneliness, and NOT attach a story to it. That would look something like this: feel the emotion start to creep in, honor it by allowing it to be without attaching a story to it, and give yourself what you need. Ask yourself, “what can I do for myself in this moment?” and then do it. Do you see how this is healthier than telling yourself there is something wrong with you for feeling lonely?
4. Alone and loneliness are not synonymous.
This goes for single people and those who cannot spend the day with their loved ones. Just because you are alone, does not have to mean you are lonely. People will try to tell you otherwise through comments like “don’t you get lonely in that house all by yourself?”. Or we can be triggered by hearing comments like “if I had someone special to spend the day with….” Often times, comments like these are other people’s projections of their internal world, in this case, their inability to be alone. It can be hard to stand in your truth and not cave to the “well, I guess they’re right” thoughts. But, you don’t have to buy into the belief that just because you are not with another person means that you are lonely. You can still feel secure even though you are not physically with another body.
5. Check your expectations.
I can guarantee that you are subconsciously carrying around unrealistic expectations that you picked up from TV, movies, books, and music. These tend to show up when you’re expecting your partner to act in a certain way. And when Valentine’s Day comes around, those unrealistic expectations tend to manifest in wishing they would write a heartfelt post, buy an expensive gift or prepare a romantic candle lit dinner. There’s nothing wrong with wanting these things, but when they do not appear, you have to watch how it affects your thoughts about yourself, your partner and the relationship. Just because they didn’t post about you on social media doesn’t mean they don’t love you. Make sure your wants are not actually unrealistic expectations you are projecting onto your partner. It is an impossible standard to try to live up to the life you see portrayed in any form of media.
6. Set social media boundaries for yourself if you start to feel lousy.
Know your limits. Put yourself first and sign off when you start to feel inadequate. If you know that being on social media that day is going to make you feel crappy, then decide to stay off. Check in with yourself while you’re scrolling, and the second you catch yourself starting to compare or having negative self talk, sign off. You do not need to engage with social media if it is negatively affecting you. The world won’t end if you don’t get to the end of your feed that day.
7. And my favorite tip…do something for yourself.
Valentine’s Day is about love, and yes, that includes love for YOURSELF. If your fantasy relationship was a reality, what would you want your partner to do for you? Now do those things for yourself. Write yourself a love letter, buy yourself jewelry, send yourself flowers, draw up a romantic bath with candles, roses, and relaxing music. Sometimes we can feel like if we treat ourselves “it doesn’t count”. Treating yourself does not take away from the specialness of the moment. And I encourage you to do this even if you are in a relationship, because no one can meet your needs like you can!
Well, there ya go! Those are my tips for surviving Valentine’s Day. Do you feel like maybe it won’t be so bad this year? With a new mindset, you can maintain your self worth even when you’re triggered. And if you are still triggered, be kind to yourself. It’s natural, humans are built for connection. But instead of wallowing in self pity, gently remind yourself that you are worthy no matter what your Valentine’s Day plans are - even if you’re spending it eating leftover pizza on the floor. Showing yourself love is the best gift you can receive, and that love can look like setting boundaries, adjusting your self talk, or buying yourself gifts. YOU can make the day special for yourself, regardless of your relationship status.
Sending you so much love this V-Day! If you’re looking for more encouragement or inspiration, tune into this episode of the Loving My Wild podcast to learn about The Ways that I Show Myself Love. You can listen to that here.
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