To those who are lonely this Valentine’s Day

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I spent the morning scrolling through Facebook and Instagram looking at all the Vday posts. Such a diverse group of dynamic posts. The mushy, lovey dovey posts, proudly showing off their love- at least the love they wish to present to the world. Then there’s the stream of sarcastic and comical jokes that always make me laugh. Lastly, there are the posts that are full of so much sadness, they call Valentine’s Day the worst day and vow to stay off social media today in order to avoid getting depressed. This is just a small sampling of the lives lived every day.

Valentine’s Day has always been one of my favorite holidays- not a one day of the year to shower those with love, but rather an opportunity to celebrate the beauty of love that already exists in relationships. It was hard for me to not get mad or almost judge those who were putting down my favorite holiday. Until I realized I used to be them- I just expressed my frustrations and disappointments differently.

I was fixated on having the perfect Valentine’s Day every year. This was my goal whether I was single or dating. This led to a wide variety of Valentine Day experiences.

One year I made the perfect Valentine’s Day candy poem card. I spent so much time on it, I just knew the guy I was dating would love it. I remember mentioning the card to him later and he had already eaten all the candy and threw the card away. Okay. Maybe just not that sentimental… or maybe he just wasn’t my person. Our relationship was the definition of the right things with the wrong person.

One year I went on a first date for Valentine’s Day. With someone I had zero compatibility with. But I didn’t want to be alone on Valentine’s Day. So instead I was stuck for hours with someone I had no interest in. But hey, at least I wasn’t alone… insert eye roll emoji here.

The year finally came where I thought I had the perfect date. Potentially someone I would marry. The perfect dinner reservations. Posts and pics to make my friends envious. What everyone else didn’t know was that I had to beg him to take a picture of me in my new dress. And the only way he agreed was if I promised not to post the picture because he didn’t think the dress was modest enough. That we almost missed our reservations because we had to stop at one of his favorite stores first so he could buy himself some stuff. I was controlled the entire relationship and almost lost my own identity.

It’s easy to feel like loneliness and singleness are the worst things in the world. But I’ve learned they aren’t. What’s worse is when we pretend. When we stay in relationships never meant for us. When we compromise our peace in order to check off a box. There were several years I had a valentine, but I was still left unhappy. Empty. Lonely. The pictures with a hundred likes weren’t worth it. Pretend validation, pretend worth, pretend everything. It just wasn’t worth it.

I wasn’t craving a valentine; I wasn’t even craving not being alone. I was craving love and every situation just left me wanting more.

Now, I just want real love, not the pretend stuff I settled with for so long.

I finally realized I was doing all the love experiences with all the wrong people. And that’s why I was left so empty, so sad, and so disappointed. So much love to give… and it was all delivered to the wrong guys. So instead of continuously throwing around my attempts to give love to those who were never meant to receive it, I now wait. I wait in hope and anticipation. That the love I’ve given wasn’t in vain. That it’s showed me what’s not for me, so I’ll be better equipped to recognize what is. It’s taught me wait for the one that can reciprocate with the same love I hope to give. And that it’s in this waiting that I feel more content than I ever did with the realities I experienced of fake fronts, shallow relationships, dull dates, and experiences that always left me wanting more- something deeper- real peace-  true love.

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