A few years ago, I was sitting down with a heartbroken friend to comfort her. She had recently gone through a breakup, and it was just a couple weeks before the start of her summer vacation. Through tears and sniffles, she told me the dreams she had for that summer were crushed because she had no one to spend it with.
My heart ached for her as she spilled out her emotions—not just because she was hurting but because I had been in her shoes. I had been the woman who thought my future plans were ruined because I wasn’t in a relationship.
Valentine’s Day seems to bring up these types of feelings. And with just a few days before the holiday also known as Singles Awareness Day, hopes of finding a date in time for Feb. 14 are dashed.
For years, I didn’t have to worry about finding a Valentine’s Day date because I had been in a relationship. But in 2015 when I found myself single for the first time in a long time, I was forced to face my fear of being alone and “unloved.” I didn’t handle it well at first, still clinging to the hope that some prince charming would ask me to be his Valentine. Eventually, though, I came to terms with this relationship status and even embraced it at times.
I did this by focusing on two key truths. These truths helped me look beyond my singleness and, therefore, allowed me to not be controlled by it.
Whether you are single, dating, or married, God loves you. At this point, many of you are probably rolling your eyes at me and thinking, “Great, she’s playing the God card to guilt me for feeling lonely.” Or you may read my bio and think, “Easy for you to say. You’re married.”
First of all, know that marriage is not all sunshine and roses. I love my husband very much, but he and I both know he’s not always the prince charming I’d hoped to have. (Plus, Valentine’s Day is one of his least favorite holidays.)
Second, if you dismiss this point, you’ll never learn how to properly deal with loneliness. Yes, God’s love is not the same as being in a romantic relationship. Yes, God doesn’t buy you roses or chocolates for Valentine’s Day.
God’s love is far beyond those things. His love is patient, kind, selfless, and sacrificial. His love is unconditional, so no matter what you do, it is always there waiting for you. His love is greater than anything that can be measured. In short, God’s love is perfect because God is love (1 John 4:16).
Eventually, all earthly love will prove to be imperfect. Your boyfriend will hurt your feelings. Your girlfriend will tear you down. Your husband will lie to you. Your wife will break your trust. If you keep searching for perfect love in a significant other, you’ll always come up short.
Yet God offers perfect love to you—a completely broken, imperfect person. Do you have a dark secret you’ve never shared with anyone for fear you’ll be rejected? God knows, and He still loves you. Do you ever feel ashamed or unworthy of love? God sees you as someone worth sacrificing for.
If you can accept and focus on God’s love, you can be content in singleness. You may still desire a relationship, but all your hope won’t be placed in finding one.
It can be easy to be wrapped up in your own loneliness. But if you look around, you’ll see others who are in need of love, too. You have the capability to give love and could make someone feel very special this Valentine’s Day.
When I was newly single, I spent one Valentine’s Day doing random acts of kindness. I bought a stranger’s lunch, donated food to a food bank, walked my mom’s dog, etc. Before my husband and I got married, we sacrificed our Valentine’s Day so I could spend it with two single friends to have a girl’s night.
You can get creative with the ways you show love to others. Perhaps there’s a friend or family member you haven’t seen in a while you can go visit. Maybe you have a coworker you can take out to lunch. If you like animals, volunteer at your local animal shelter to love on the puppies and kittens.
The point is to get the focus off of your relationship status and put it toward those who could use a little love themselves. Our problems look a lot smaller when we take time to help others.
This Valentine’s Day does not have to be Singles Awareness Day. You don’t have to be like me, the woman who feared being alone and desperately wanted to find someone to love me. You already have someone who loves you, and you can give the gift of love yourself. If you lean into your singleness as a gift—albeit a strange gift—instead of a curse, you can manage to have a happy Valentines Day, with or without a date.
For more on embracing singleness, read How Are You Single? Answers for the single person from a single person or find more stories like this in our our newest book, I Found Love.