There’s nothing like the sting of a breakup just before Valentine’s Day. It was my senior year of college and I was dating a boy in Boston. We had made arrangements months prior for him to come to New York for a romantic weekend of fun with our group of friends. When the dreadful phone call came with the news that he had started seeing someone else and had decided to stay in Boston, I was devastated.
I was dateless just days before Valentine’s Day, and I didn’t want to be alone. I called a male friend who I knew had a bit of a crush on me and asked if he’d like to go to dinner. We went to a local Japanese restaurant, I feigned interest and suffered through the night secretly pining for the boy who bailed on me at the last minute.
Whether you’ve been single forever or recently changed your status, the reality of flying solo on Valentine’s Day can be a lot to bear, but it is certainly do-able. Here are five etiquette tips to turn that frown upside down and ensure you survive the Hallmark holiday with your self-esteem and dignity intact.
Love thyself first
Manners all boil down to one single thing and that is respect. Who do you need to show the love to first? Yourself. Don’t drown your sorrows in a bucket of self-pity. Instead, grab a girlfriend and toast your independence with a glass of fancy Champagne and a gourmet meal. After all, if you don’t love you, how in the world will you convince someone else?
Open your heart
Although you may have been scorned, the reality is you’ve found love in the past and you will find love again with an open heart, mind and spirit. Resist the urge to sink down to those low levels of pettiness and hatred. Smile more. Be optimistic. Believe. The more positive energy you exude, the more opportunities you will attract. Seek out a nighttime yoga or meditation class to jump start you on this new path to openness.
Volunteer your time
There are countless charitable organizations hosting Valentine’s Day parties and activities for those in need. Research charities in your area. Volunteer to decorate the party room, help with an art project or bake treats. The mere act of getting out and giving your time will completely take the focus off of you and restore those warm and fuzzy feelings inside.
Embrace what is in front of you
Take a good long look in the mirror and tally up everything you are grateful for. Your home, your children, your work, your pet, your massage therapist, your psycho-therapist, etc. Make a list so you can see it in writing and refer back to when necessary. The more grateful we are for what we have, the more the world will reward us. Now stop sulking and head to the nearest revival movie theatre for a showing of Gone with the Wind.
Understand that life is cyclical
One day you’re up, the next you’re down and it’s all completely out of your control. What is in your control, however, is how you conduct yourself during the down cycles. This is the stuff of true grit and character. You may be dateless this particular Valentine’s Day, but your future holds much more exciting plans. As the architect of those plans, you get to design who and what is in store next. The sky’s the limit, so go for the gusto!