Valentines day has never been a big deal to me. I’m much more into the day-to-day expressions of love than the big moments. There is one Valentine’s day that stands out to me though. It was the Valentine’s Day where I mentally shifted and made the decision that my relationship was over. It was a messy, painful process and it gave me a great gift: the gift of singlehood. See, I had always been consumed with the idea of being in a relationship. I thought that in order for me to be something, I needed to be someone’s something. How did I go from relationship driven to satisfied single? It was a messy process, for sure, but here are some things I learned.

Container. I had to learn to be my own container. I had to learn to tolerate my own emotions, to self soothe, to rely on my ability to figure out my own path. It’s easier written then it is to implement, especially for someone who craved validation.

Perspective. I got to hear myself and only myself for the first time. My thoughts and feelings were the only compass I had. There was no noise from someone else. And let’s be real, regardless of how great a relationship is, there are always wounds that we bring into it. Those wounds makes the noise that much greater. That all went away when I chose singlehood.

Freedom. There’s something to be said about being able to pick and choose when and where you want to do something. At first, I was frozen. Nothing sounded right. I had this gnawing sensation inside of me that I needed to do singlehood a certain way … well, really, I had the overwhelming feeling that I needed to find someone else FAST. By being my own container, I got to experience the freedom that comes from being your own person, choosing your own path, living life exactly as you want it. P.S. It’s also really nice to not have to account for someone else’s definition of freedom … which usually involves the checkbook!

Self-care. Everyone talks about self-care. It’s one of the buzz words of our culture. What does it really mean? For me, it wasn’t the grand experiences of massages, pedicures, fancy dinners and expensive vacations. I found self-care in the relief of just showing up for myself. Coming home from work, making a meal because that’s what sounded good to me, taking my dog on a walk and enjoying the sunshine, working in my garden, feeling the warm richness of the soil, and curling up on the couch with a blanket and a good book. Those little gestures were filled with love for me. It’s an amazingly thrilling experience to actually feel care for yourself without needing it from someone else.

My journey in singlehood didn’t start well. It was rough. It was painful. There were times I felt like I was going to come out of my skin. I vividly remember the day, though, that I felt this overwhelming love and contentment with my life. I was fine just with me. I didn’t NEED someone else. I found me.

It’s ok and good to want to have connections with others. Our brains are actually wired to connect. Those connections can be found in so many different relationships: partners, friendships, co-workers, etc. I am now in a relationship and enjoy the experience of intimate connection. What I learned in my journey to accepting singlehood is valuable to me and it has changed the way I show up in relationships today. When we choose to embrace the difficult parts of singlehood, we find the gifts in it.

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