Great. Is it February already?
It’s that time of the year. The pairs of people holding hands are everywhere! They make the world seem like it revolves around them. You wouldn’t mind if you were one of them.
But the truth is, you’re not.
There’s a new “holiday” in town. Singles have decided to rebrand Valentine’s day as S.A.D. aka Single Awareness day.
You might laugh, but it’s a growing movement. You may a reasonable person and not the cynical type. But with all the influence around, how can you not be?
Regardless of your relationship status, you matter. Your relationship status doesn’t define who you are as a person. Not this year, not ever.
Don’t think so? I’ve got a solution for you.
(Let this video play as background music.)
Don’t be Cynical, Especially if You’re Single.
I remember people in high school and college getting upset about Valentine’s Day. They loudly proclaimed it was stupid. “Why not make every day Valentine’s Day?” they asked.
Unfortunately, this ideal world doesn’t exist.
If there’s something people know about me, it’s that I’ve been single since day one. Of course, I’ve had my crushes here and there, but I never pursued them further for various reasons. Strict Asian parents, but also a desire to not get distracted from other things.
Call me old-fashioned, because I am. But despite this, bitterness never took over. I knew there was more to it.
Seeing the beauty that certain couples held between them was encouraging. It wasn’t worth becoming upset. If anything, it was something to look forward to. Don’t give up.
Back to school. It was painful for me as a single person to watch others complain. They drowned themselves in cynical attitudes during the month of February. Negativity is contagious. But instead of fighting, I began to listen to what others were saying.
As I listened, they weren’t really complaining that they didn’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend. The pains often went deeper. Things were tough at home. Divorced or fighting parents meant that home wasn’t a place where love was abundant. Teachers were mean and bosses were overly demanding.
It all adds up.
If there was love, it wasn’t always in the context of peace. Or, people would use it to forget about their troubles and have temporary peace.
When they returned back to real life their frustrations would end up getting taken out on others.
Annoying isn’t it? Truth is, we all do it.
Despite never having that “special someone,” the reason I could keep a smile on my face during Valentine’s day was this: there is more than one type of love worth pursuing!
You can do this too.
There are Four Types of Love.
You read that correctly.
The Ancient Greeks had multiple words to describe different types of love.
Storge, phileo, eros and agape. Love is how we treat our family, friends, romantic partners, and God. The concepts are so important that C.S. Lewis (the author of the Narnia series) even wrote a book on the subject.
In The Four Loves Lewis defines them as: affection, friendship, romance, and charity. We’ll leave it at that. If you want to understand love better, it’s worth understanding the five love langugages as well.
Regardless of whether or not you have a “special someone” in your life right now, Valentine’s Day is still your day. It’s a day about love. Doesn’t matter which kind.
Everyone has someone they can love.
How to Celebrate Single Awareness Day.
Not sure how to celebrate S.A.D.?
Is being single even something worth commemorating? That’s pretty insulting!
Breathe. Look past what you don’t have, and focus on what you do.
Remember how as kids in elementary school, we had to make Valentine’s Day cards for everyone? Even the “icky girls” with cooties?
Yep. It didn’t matter who you liked and didn’t like. We were too young to have crushes anyways. For some reason, as we got older, we forgot about our past.
The best way you can celebrate S.A.D. is to love out loud.
If you’re single, don’t go around moping and emitting bad vibes. Use this day to love on people that need it more than you do.
How? Call a friend or two and wish them a Happy Valentine’s Day!
Call your parents! Tell them you wish them the best with their relationship and look forward to seeing them soon.
If you aren’t single, don’t go around reminding people that they are. They know. Use today to extend love to that someone who is single.
As a single person, this is the most powerful way you can someone you care.
Show them they’re not alone.
Here are the five practical steps to loving out loud (as outlined in my FREE ebook.)
Screw Comfort Zones, They’re Just Boxes.
Strike up a conversation with someone you never have before.
Take the opportunity to talk to the homeless guy at your subway stop. You have five minutes to spare. Strike up a conversation with the barista that always serves you your latte macchiato.
Leaving a tip is not a bad thing.
By having a conversation with someone, the love you give will reciprocate to you in some way. It all comes back!
If you’re not sure how to get a conversation started, I’ve got you covered.
Make time to Care Because Time is Money.
That’s great! We need you to make S.A.D a better day for everyone!
Use this as an opportunity to do something random they won’t expect. Buy them a box of chocolates out of phileo. Grow your friendship! Take them out to coffee during your work break today.
The world knows they would appreciate it.
Remind them that they’re not alone. Remind them that being single isn’t the end of the world. Don’t be afraid of them thinking you’re pitying them. If they do, don’t take it to heart.
Single people can be angry sometimes.
Let’s be Radical.
You could even give up Valentine’s Day this year to celebrate S.A.D. with them instead. Take them out to a movie, or have a guy/girl’s night out!
You can always celebrate V-Day the day afterwards. If your special someone is a human being, they’ll understand.
Sacrificing for friends will unspeakably impact someone forever.
With Listening Ears, Ask questions. Make it about them.
Maybe your friend has had a horrible love life this year and her dates sucked. On top of that, her mother passed away due to cancer a few months ago.
She hasn’t been the same since.
When caring for people, it’s best to keep talk about oneself to the minimum. Instead of talking about how great your life and relationship are, ask how she’s doing.
If the answer isn’t deep enough don’t pry, but gently inquire. People need time to open up.
Maybe she needs someone to talk to and is feeling especially lonely today because it’s S.A.D. Resist the temptation to put in your two-cents. The goal is to let people vent, nothing more.
Once people have released their thoughts, their mind becomes clearer and clouds go away.
Learn that there is a big difference between empathy and sympathy. Here’s a clip of a talk by Dr. Brené Brown:
Know the difference between the two, and listen. This is one of the best ways to show you care for someone.
When you think of someone, contact them.
Is there someone who you haven’t spoken to in awhile? We all have that person in our lives.
Look through your phone contacts, but don’t just choose someone you like. Find an acquaintance or someone even lower down your list and surprise them.
There are few feelings as great (in my humble opinion) as reconnecting with old friends. But for some people, the problem is having someone to connect with at all.
Chronic loneliness is a real problem.
So much so, that in the U.K. they are fighting hard to combat it. Researchers claim it leads to physical illnesses, obesity and other things you wouldn’t expect. The U.S. is slowly catching in awareness to the gravity of the issue. The research data is staggering and should shake you up a bit.
I remember how difficult my grandmother was in the months before she passed.
Some days she wouldn’t be able to walk and would yell at my aunt’s and uncles. When I would come to visit (especially coming from the states) she would walk and cook as if there was nothing wrong with her.
She was lonely.
“Denying you feel lonely makes no more sense than denying you feel hunger.” – John Cacioppo Professor of Psychology”
To be honest, I believe this is the real reason S.A.D exists.
It’s not out of spite for couples, but the desire to be part of one. The hunger for love is what drives such potentially negative reactions.
Offer yourself up, and be there. Rinse and repeat.
We’ve all been in the dumps at one point or another. Being lonely is the last thing we could want in times like these. Having a listening ear means the world.
If there’s something we can all agree on– humans need to vent every once in awhile.
This is the last step, and most important.
When you let people know they can count on you, it speaks. You don’t need a whole room full of people to be constantly checking up on you. A select few will do.
I personally have a group of 3-4 people depending on how you count it, that I know are there for me when I need them. They each play very different roles and are important for different situations.
Somedays I need some encouragement, some days I need someone to challenge me, another day I need someone to filter through my thought process. These people are priceless.
You can be that someone.
Tell someone that you’ll be there for them, because you said you would.
Go Love out Loud
This post discusses love in the context of friendship, but let’s remember the four loves for a second.
You know that love doesn’t stop at friendship and romance.
The four loves also apply to people in everyday life–like your neighbors! They don’t bite.
If they do, you did your part.
When was the last time you called your parents or told your sister you’re thinking of her? Extend that to your cousins, grandparents, nieces and nephews.
Don’t get overwhelmed though.
Choose one person and make it happen. Then as time goes on, extend it to someone else who needs a helping hand or listening ear.
Don’t have romance? Celebrate friendship. Don’t have that? Celebrate family! Find someone to hold on to before they’re gone. Know that you are also loved.
Never forget that the word single doesn’t define who you are. Neither does having a relationship. You’re not “single.” You are a person.
A human being full of potential, an individual with strengths and a desire for good.
Celebrate Single Awareness Day by loving out loud.
You got this.
Regardless of relationship status: How do you plan on celebrating Valentine’s Day?