The month is coined with two major events: the only month with 28 days (29 every four years) and Valentines days! A third event that is now on the rise yet still not very popular is Single Awareness Day (SAD) which falls on Feb 15th. Feb also celebrates my sister’s and nephew’s birthdays but unfortunately, these days haven’t reached international popularity.
Because of Valentine’s Day, Feb brings out a lot of emotions that range from excitement and joy to disappointment and anger to feelings of indifference. From my experience as a friend and life coach, it is safe to say that people can be divided into the following groups: (this categorization is not meant to judge anyone but merely to help people become more aware of their feelings towards valentines, love and relationships. Once we have this awareness, we can choose to deal with these feelings and emotions in a way that best suit our needs and priorities.
The Lovers of love: Those who love “love” and want to celebrate all forms of love to everyone and everything. When I was in college, I had a friend who loved Feb 14th. To her, it was a day that celebrated love rather that a specific lover. She made cards for everyone and would give candy to those she knew and didn’t know. Her gesture was contagious and it soon uplifted everyone’s mood. (I have a secret desire to be in this category but it takes too much of a commitment and work. Perhaps I will make this a Feb challenge: Reach out to people with a friendly note without expecting anything in return)
The indifferent: They genuinely don’t care about V-day and have no feelings about all the hearts, candies and red around them. They find the need to be reminded to celebrate love unnecessary. Feb 14th is just like any other day. (I used to be that way until I found myself in the next category )
The Anti-V-day: They tend to dislike this day with a passion. subcategories:Those who feel Valentine’s Day has been hijacked by consumerism. They rebel by choosing to not take part of it. Unlike the indifferent, they make their feelings known and act against anything related to V-day. (This is where I fell in for many, many, many years until I decided to stop because being “anti” something gives it power)Those who absolutely hate Valentine’s Day but secretly wish they had someone “special” to celebrate it with. Come Feb 14th, they feel miserable!
The Disappointed: Usually, this includes individuals who use V-day as a relationship goal. This could include people who feel disappointed that they are still single or have partners who don’t appreciate V-day as they do. This could be accompanied by feelings of anger, self-pity, frustration, depression, shame …etc. (I probably found myself at this category one year or the other. These feelings are fully understandable. We are constantly bombarded with inaccurate messages on life and love. Not fitting into society’s or other people’s standards might create feelings of unworthiness or that there is something wrong with us. Rest assured that if there is anything wrong, it’s the pressure we put on ourselves to subscribe to values that don’t suit us. Tips on Surviving V-day
This is mainly for those who find themselves disappointed and upset year after year and the indifferent who is involved with someone who really cares for V-day.
Take this as an opportunity to understand what love and relationships mean to you
* Be mindful of what V-days means to you. There is absolutely nothing wrong with celebrating Valentine’s Day but a lot of us are unaware of our feelings towards that celebration and what is being celebrated. Whose ideas of romanticism are you celebrating? Thanks to movies, media and social pressure, we have developed certain expectations on how love is expressed. Perhaps this is a good time to dig deep and ask yourself what love means to you, and how would you like to celebrate and express this love.
* It’s fully acceptable to not to care for Valentine’s Day. As a way to learn more about ourselves, perhaps it might be interesting to see what is behind the feeling of indifference. Also, how is this indifference effecting you and your relationship goals?
* On the other hand, being in a relationship and putting high value on Valentine’s Day might leave you feeling disappointed and frustrated. Therefore, let go of assumptions and the outcome. From my experience, many females feel excited and enthusiastic about Valentines but their partners don’t necessarily share the same feelings. Months later, women are still talking about the letdown and possibly even question theirs partners’ feelings towards them. Ladies, let him know how important this day is for you and how you would like to have it celebrated. Do this after you have discovered your likes and dislikes as well.
* Be proactive. If you want to celebrate Valentine’s, don’t wait for others to make plans. Many people tend to feel disappointments when their loved ones seem to neglect the importance of V-day. Rather than feel disappointed, take the initiative and plan something both of you would enjoy.
* Plan for two. “Both of you would enjoy” is a key sentence. We tend to assume we know what our loved ones want. Let’s stop doing this and instead investigate what they like and dislike. Expression of love is a personal opinion.
Get in touch with the spirit of love
* Luckily, Love is all around us and it’s for free. Also, you don’t have to be in a romantic relationship to be worthy of love and Valentine’s Day. “But I have so much love to give” I have heard many women say. This is wonderful news! This love can be shared with many people and it doesn’t have to be romantic love.
* Can you think of ways to tap into that spirit of love and help it spread around you?
Single? Stuck in an unhappy relationship? This can be frustrating especially when we think this matter is out of our control. However, we do have a choice in what we do with our thoughts and feelings.
* “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional” said an unknown wise person so make that choice and get creative. Find other ways to get in touch with love and express your loving side.
* Be aware of your feelings and acknowledge them. We are bombarded by messages that hype up relationships. Not being in one might suggest we are not worthy or good enough for anyone’s love.
* Be kind to yourself. How can you be kind to someone else when you can’t be kind to yourself? More so, how do you expect someone to be kind to you when you fail to be kind to yourself.
* Valentine’s Day did not come to us with a manual, we are free to celebrate it in any way we want. Find ways to celebrate a day of love. You can meet up with your friends or treat yourself the way you would like to someone else to treat you. Perhaps we can wish ourselves a happy Valentine before we can wish to others. Many times, we are so focused on romantic love that we forget to be grateful for the love we already have. We also forget to truly love ourselves. * Spread love and joy by being happy for those who love “love” and those who are in relationships. Happy Singles Awareness Day: Feb 15th
According to Day of the Year website, this is a humors day where one gets a “chance to announce to the world that you are single and happy to be so”. It is not a day about self-pity.When I first heard of this day, I thought it was funny and worth celebrating. I was in my anti-V. Day phase and figured it was a nice slap in the face to those glorifying Valentine’s Day. Little by little I started wondering if this humorous day is just another way of putting high value to society’s pressure on being in a relationship. It also adds pressure on single people to showcase their happiness of being single, even if deep inside it saddens and frustrates them.On a personal note, I never cared for celebrating Valentine’s Day but took delight in Singles Awareness Day as an anti- Valentine’s Day. However, in writing this article I started to question if perhaps I can enjoy both celebrations without spending a halalah (Saudi dime). Worth mentioning: check out the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. It also comes in a form of an app. According to the author, there are 5 primary ways on how we like to express love: quality time, physical touch, receiving gifts, words of affirmation and acts of service. Knowing yours and your partners’ languages through taking the quiz would help you both understand how to express your love to each other in a more effective manner.This book or information can come in handy when preparing for Valentine’s Day. Non-Romantic Love Songs Play-List
As mentioned above, V-day welcomes all sorts of love. Here is an incomplete list of love songs other than romantic songs. Most songs here is either dedicated to general theme of love or on self-love. After all, it’s like RuPaul says “ If you can't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?" Feel free to add your favorite non-romantic love songs in the comments section. Born This Way" – Lady Gaga
Grace and Gratitude” album by Olivia Newton John
Express Yourself” Madonna
From a Distance “Bette Milder
I Want To Live” – John Denver
Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac
Love” by John Lennon
Love is All you need” by The Beatles
Love Makes the World Go Round” Madonna
Love Myself” by Hailee Steinfeld
"Perhaps love” John Denver & Placido Domingo
“Ray of Light Album by Madonna
“Scared “Judah and the lion Scared
“Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift
“The Greatest Love of All” Whitney Houston
“The Rose” Bette Midler
“This Is Me” The Greatest Showman
"Walk Unafraid” by First Aid Kit
“Wannabe” by the Spice Girls
“What the World Needs Now” By Jackie DeShannon
“Wonderful World” by Sam Cooke.
Non-English songs:One doesn’t have to speak the language to understand and relate to music:
“Auf uns” Andreas Bourani – A song that celebrates love and life
"Ich bin mein Haus“ ( I am my home) Rosenstolz
“Gäa” – Oonagh – a mixture of German and Elvish (languages used by elves )