Love Yourself First

Written by: Erik Upper

Valentine’s Day! Romance is in the air, which is delightful for a lot of people, but unfortunately means that some are left feeling exceptionally lonely. This aggressive loneliness is a serious issue that can cause severe enough anguish to damage both a person’s mental and physical state.

I’m happy to tell you though, that if you are amongst the millions of people who are single this Valentine’s Day, there are some lovely alternatives to despair that can leave you feeling just as delightfully fuzzy as any great romance!

Being single during more couple-oriented holidays is a strange experience. You almost can’t help but feel excluded from the festivities, but there are some serious advantages too! Being single comes with the caveat that life has less potential stress. The only person you need to please is yourself, but during holidays where you’re expected to provide above average levels of romance, things can get stressful quick. Compound that with things like financial burdens, scheduling conflicts and pressure from society to act in a way that makes you uncomfortable, Valentine’s Day can prove to be
quite a sneaky lump of stress.

I know from experience though, that if you’re lonely thinking about the potential negatives of romance doesn’t really provide any sort of peace of mind, especially given the often overwhelming and irrational feeling of loneliness itself.

So, what’s the remedy?

Well, the greatest way to get rid of loneliness is finding out how to be in love with yourself. Let’s get into developing self-love for the holidays! We won’t get into the entirety of self-love in this article, because there’s a lot to cover, but I’ll help you get started in the best way I know how as well as some actions to bring it into your life.

In general, self-love is all about learning to accept yourself for who you are, but one of the most important parts of it is having wonderful people around you. Community is a key part of life for anyone with a great deal of self-love; communities contain the people that let you know how worthy you are as a person and keep the criticism you hold so harshly against yourself at bay. A community can come from any number of places: online, at work, at school, local clubs/groups, family, friends, local events… the list goes on and on, to the point where if there’s people present then there’s probably a community too.

The hard part about community is finding one that works well for you, something that fits what you’re looking for in your friendships and shares similar values to what you find important. As we grow and change as people, our interests shift. Your favourite thing in the world a couple years ago might annoy you now and, on the reverse, that thing you used to hate might now be a refreshing change of pace. This is a natural part of the human condition, and one that can be a little spooky for some people.

So, before you go looking for a community, take a step back and think about what it is you’re really looking for, ignoring the romantic side of life. Ask questions to yourself like, “Do I actually like this anymore, or is something I’m just doing for the sake of doing something?” There are also times where you might find that you don’t particularly have any interests, which is also entirely valid. There are millions of people around the world that feel the exact same way.

Now that you’ve figured out what you’re interested in, the next step is to find some resources. Since you’re already reading this on Mainly Niagara, you’ve made some great strides towards finding your community! An interest in local events and businesses is one of the easiest and most intriguing ways to find a community that works for you. This is especially effective for those of us that aren’t sure what we’re looking for, because you just might find something along the way! If going out isn’t your thing, find one of the millions of online forums out there that would be glad to have your input (just be careful, of course).

Since it’s Valentine’s Day, there’s a lot out there to do, but my suggestion is to check out the always delightful Third Space Café! In cooperation with Third Space Café, my dear friend Falynn Shaw and her lovely co-conspirators are putting together a wonderful event that purposefully takes a step back from the romantic glitz and glamour traditional to the holiday and instead focuses on loving yourself, the community around you and the simple beauty of existing. This event, “Heart 2 Heart” will take place from 5 PM to 9 PM at Third Space Café (4345 Queen Street, across from City Hall) and features karaoke, art, music and of course great company!

Plus, if you needed any more reason to go, I’ll be there! If you do decide to come be sure to say hello. I’m always looking to make new friends, especially one as fantastic as yourself.

Happy Valentine’s Day, be kind to yourself (and follow @brain.hugs on Instagram)!

Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us here at Mainly Niagara!