Editor’s note: Writer’s answers do not reflect those of the Mitchell News-Journal and are not meant to replace medical or mental health care.
Dear Denise: I’m not too fond of Valentine’s Day. All my friends and co-workers get flowers and candy and jewelry from their boyfriends and husbands, and I sit and smile while I feel terrible inside. My friends and family tell me I will meet someone special someday, but I don’t know if I will ever find love. I feel like this all the time, but Valentine’s Day makes me so much more aware of that fact I am unloved.
Dear Reader: Let me start by saying that Valentine’s Day is a holiday in which a lot of pressure is put on people to show their romantic feelings toward one another, but not everyone in the world is currently in a relationship. That can make those that are single feel left out and lonely. I was single for about seven years, so I know what you mean. It can be a very unpleasant day. But the second thing I want to address is your statement that you are unloved. Merriam-Webster defines love as “strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties.” You said in your email you have friends and family who support and encourage you. Is that not love? Love can come from many different sources. It can come from our roots stemming from our families. It can come from deep friendships that sometimes serve as a surrogate family. It can come from our spiritual faith. It can come from our relationship with a cherished pet. Most of all, it can happen and should happen, from love for ourselves.
When we learn to appreciate and love ourselves for who we are, we become more open to other types of love. Romantic love is not the only form of love. But of course, we all want that, too. We all long for that heart-pounding, passionate connection with another human being. I agree with your friends and family; you will meet someone someday. But the truth is, people don’t just fall out of the sky into our laps. Life doesn’t follow the script of a romantic comedy movie. Take some action to make this happen for you. Let your friends know you are open to meeting people. Attend social events and mingle. Online dating sites can be useful. You do need to screen carefully, and take safety precautions like letting friends know who you are meeting and where, and not ignoring any red flags that may pop up, such as not being available on weekends, acting secretive about things, coming on too strong, too soon, etc. Always meet in a public place, and have an escape plan. But the internet can give you access to people you may never have met otherwise. Hang in there, keep enjoying life with the people in your life, and positive things will come your way soon.
Denise Harrison is a Licensed Counselor in Spruce Pine. Email questions to email@example.com or leave a message at 828-467-0037. Submissions are anonymous.