Valentine’s Day does not have to mean doomsday for those not in a relationship. While the holiday emanates love—often in the form of romantic relationships—visions of interlocked hands over a fancy dinner reservation, pink roses gifted at front doors, and chocolate covered strawberries ribboned sweetly in heart-shaped boxes should not be symbols of love that evoke feelings of jealousy or anger for those who find themselves single around the holiday.
Of course, Feb. 14 can be difficult for those struggling with personal perceptions of love, any inferiority experienced or exposed to in romantic relationships, and past traumas which may have scarred the potential for a tenderness towards the mere concept of love. Being single and being happy for those who are not on Valentine’s Day is within reach and cause for celebration itself.
As college students, we are encircled by an extremely concentrated age group. For four years, many college students live directly amongst those that they relate to closest in age. So, it can be easy to feel subservient when observing other young adults seemingly succeed in areas where one might not, and this can be heightened on days like Valentine’s Day when it becomes explicitly transparent and public how many people are involved in these romantic relationships.
This is not cause for concern though. From the time students enter college to when they graduate, they are constantly finding themselves in the friends they choose, the classes and fields they study, and the people they allow to enter and remain in their lives. Unlike being at home, parents and guardians have much less of a say on what goes on and with whom during college life. So, there is this new and exciting ability to understand one’s own personal needs and what expectations they have from others while they continue to discover themselves apart from the people, relationships, and experiences which have all influenced each person’s identity.
Recognizing one’s own strengths and how one has changed as an individual during these years can be exceptionally instrumental in the formation of future lasting relationships, whether these happen to be romantic or not. By examining relationships outside of one’s own in observing friends, roommates, and classmates’ lives, people can also better understand themselves. By doing so, individuals begin to better appreciate what they want for themselves. That is not to say people should judge or criticize the relationships that they would not choose for themselves. Every person is entitled to find support, love, and happiness where it comes naturally to them, and everyone will find these in different people.
So, being single gives a special opportunity to recognize how those people closest to us have found a sort of unique happiness in their own relationships. If Valentine’s Day seems to trigger feelings of displeasure or dissatisfaction in oneself, it is beneficial to reform those negative feelings into those of confidence and potential for the future of their own relationships.
While people may seem to be coupled up in every direction, it is true that these same couples were formed by two people who were once living as single individuals themselves. This is the exact reason as to why days like Valentine’s Day should excite feelings of hope in a future where growth has brought someone into a position in which they can entirely and comfortably be themselves in a relationship where both their strengths and faults are continuously improved in the company of someone else.
Find contentment in your coupled up friends even if you might not happen to be in a relationship personally. No matter what our romantic lives appear to be at the moment, every person is constantly maturing and finding growth as an individual which will affect every future relationship, and that is more than enough to appreciate and love this Valentine’s Day.