Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. It got me thinking about love. As write this from a hotel in Mandalay – alone – many may surmise I am far from love. I have no one ‘special’ to share this day with. I’ve been single for over a year. It’s the longest period of time I have spent without a significant other for as long as I can track back. It’s not a bad thing. I had a lot to work through. I had a lot to let go of. And I had a lot of growing to do. As a result, somehow now, I feel closer to love than I have ever felt.
I have beautiful, beautiful friends who have become a huge part of my world. Since I have been on my own my friendships have deepened in a way I didn’t know to be possible. It has become much clearer what – and who – is important in my journey. I am growing to understand more about the kind of relationship I seek. And I am growing to understand more about myself – my strengths and my weaknesses.
Some lessons are hard to learn. It took me a long time to realise many things. It also took me a long time to wake up to myself.
But most importantly, it took me some time to develop a healthy relationship with me.
I used to place so much importance on being with someone. Like it somehow defined you, or verified your worth. In fact, in the end, I placed so much importance on it I sacrificed my own happiness to avoid the fear of being alone.
It can be a very difficult thing, to listen to your heart. It takes practise. It can take more strength than one may think possible – truly. But the human spirit is not weak. It can reach depths your mind cannot comprehend. It can fight back, when it needs to. Every single soul has the tools it needs. It is only the chatter of the mind, and the ego, that pull us back and make us doubt ourselves.
Love should raise you up. High. It should have you believe in yourself. It should have you feeling secure, and beautiful, and capable, and sure. And it should allow you to become a better version of you.
And although I may not have a significant other in my life, I feel closer to all of those things than I have ever felt. For that reason, I hold no regrets for the path I have walked. For although it has been difficult at times, it has also been the greatest of teachers and has led me into a space where I feel grateful, content and fulfilled.
So as I sat tonight, with a full belly, and gazed out across a bustling street in Mandalay I realised how when we give to ourselves, we have even more to give to those we love. It is only when we fill ourselves up, that we overflow with enough to share with others in a truly sustainable way. So although in the short-term taking time for yourself may feel selfish, in many ways it may also mean you have even more to give.
So Valentine’s Day or not, single or otherwise, take time for you – as well as for the ones you love.