Valentine's Day is here, and if you're in a monogamous relationship, you'll probably spend the day detached from the world, imagining a life where only the two of you exist. Yes, love is a magical feeling, filled with an array of positive human emotions that make us commit to someone in ways we wouldn't with others.
But then there will be those spending Valentine's Day alone, wondering why they find themselves single on a day where others canoodle each other with the force of a moving set of tectonic plates. It's natural, after all, to question your own, romantic self-worth on a day which tells us that love is the most critical thing in the world. And in most peoples' opinions, it is.
Life is, for the most part, a treacherous affair, where one's existence is tested on a daily basis. The human lifespan is, in the grand scheme of things, a very short one, and when life is spent alone and met with struggles, it can seem that love is the one thing that can rescue us. But when Valentine's Day advertisements blare through our tv screens, it almost feels as if Cupid himself is pointing his arrow our way, laughing at our mediocrity and inability to find someone who loves us back. This pained sense of not having someone can ultimately make us feel that our existence is missing the crucial ingredient of a good life.
Yet such sadness needn't make us feel devalued, or that we are devoid of love entirely. While February's Day of Love brings romantic love to the forefront of our minds, if you search deeper within yourself, you'll discover love's true meaning.
To do this, you'll first have to detach yourself from the countless Nicholas Sparks movies, weepy Adele songs and Byronesque literature which tells us that if love doesn't conquer all, then it sure as hell breaks us.
By detaching yourself from this nonsense, you'll soon step away from the cliched tropes of romantic love and discover more about what the emotion means to you. What do you love doing more than anything else? What makes you smile when you get up in the morning? Are you happy with your own quality of life? Do friends and family surround you when the going gets tough? These searching questions may seem like self-empowered tropes in themselves, but they are anything but.
As a single person myself, I have often dismissed these questions and thought nothing of them, because if only I found someone who loved me as equally as I loved them, everything else would just fall into place. Sadly, that is very rarely the case.
Life isn't a puzzle solved by finding the so-called missing piece. You don't automatically become devoid of problems and stresses when in a relationship. Your life changes, sure. In the short-run, it's undoubtedly better thanks to a good old taste of dopamine, but if you're not already content with who you as a person, and what you want from life, even a great relationship won't rescue you from your inner-demons.
Of course, we all want someone in our lives who proves to be more than just an ephemeral, Tinder fling, but more often than not we let our loneliness consume us rather than drive us to fulfill our full potential.
Love isn't only about finding 'The One.' It's about self-discovery, adventure, and achievement from within. If you can wake up in the morning and look yourself in the mirror and give yourself the love you want to project onto a partner, then you are in love. If you can laugh and spend quality time with your friends and not be plagued by not having a partner, then you are in love. If you are working on a passion project that fuels you with a creativity that has finally been unleashed, then you are in love.
It may not be the dive-in-front-of-a-bullet-for-your-lover kind of love, but it's a sign that you take pride in your own self-worth. So lap up your single status and celebrate all of life. There are many facets to a good life- romantic love is just one of them.
Ignore the couples that make you feel inadequate for being single on a day that really is just another wet, and windy day in plain old February. Ignore the fears in the back of your mind that tell you you're no good. Ignore the possibility that you might never find your soul mate. Just don't ignore yourself.
In the words of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, "When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love." Aurelius was right. When you are in love with the world, you are in love with yourself. That is what true love is all about.