The worst thing to happen is not being alone, but being in a relationship with the wrong person, so cherish your freedom, says Mira Saraf, in a warm, insightful personal post.
Let me start out by saying I don’t hate Valentine’s Day, nor do I judge anyone that chooses to celebrate. If you’re feeling it and your partner is too, celebration is never a bad thing. And even if it has been packaged and Hallmarked, who cares? Life is too short to worry about these things.
While I have celebrated in the past, I find the idea of celebrating less and less compelling: restaurants will be packed with ridiculously expensive package deals, there will invariably be some sort of crazed religious police descending on unsuspecting young couples, and it will feel like someone has vomited red hearts and roses all over the place.
For me personally, this is decidedly unromantic, though one of the highlights of Valentine’s Day, at least when I lived abroad, has been the enormous amount of half-priced heart shaped chocolate available on February 15.
Anyway, my perhaps bizarre ideas about romance aside, while I don’t take offence to couples who celebrate, I have in the past heard people who are unattached, feel immense anguish at being alone on the day of love.
As someone who has spent long periods of time alone, I get it. We all want a partner that understands us, that holds us when we break down, and that we can count on in times of need.
We see how easy it is on social media for others to find love, whirlwind romances, and have beautiful fantasy-worthy weddings. Yes, yes, we all know it isn’t all true, that much of it is self-presentation, and nobody’s real life is exactly like it is on social media, but does that mean it doesn’t hurt just a little bit?
I’m guilty of indulging those feelings of somehow being lesser than other people, for not being able to get my act together in this area of my life. However, I feel blessed, that I learned quite early that there is nothing worse than being in the wrong relationship.
Not that I am particularly well-evolved in these matters, but in my experience: when you’re truly alone, you are free. You can take that yoga class you’ve been meaning to try, take a solo trip to a place you’ve never been, work on things that matter to you, and do things for yourself.
That starts to get compromised when someone enters your life, and if the good they bring outweighs the compromise then you’re good.
The loneliest I have ever been is when I’ve been in a relationship with the wrong person. Because that truly is the worst of both worlds: you can neither feel comfort from the person next to you, nor can you hope for a healthy and fulfilling love. You’re trapped.
In fact, I’ve felt so trapped in past relationships, that I literally ended my first three long-term ones by leaving the country. I had a pattern: I would move countries still dating the person all mentally convinced that we would do long distance, realise with time and space that they weren’t for me, and then break up within six months.
But before these breakups, I’ve cried into pillows, locked myself in washrooms, feel my heart breaking into tiny little pieces. All when I have been with another person. Never when I’ve been alone.
When I’ve left these relationships, in spite of heartbreak and sadness, the most powerful thing I’ve felt is relief. The pressure is finally off, and I can be myself again. I can breathe.
Although I’m in a happy healthy relationship now, these are lessons I’ve never forgotten. I happily compromise now because the relationship is worth it. I don’t try and hide my tears, because there aren’t any, not when it comes to him anyway.
But I wanted to say this to anyone who is single out there, without coming across as condescending or presumptuous: if you find yourself bemoaning your single status this Valentine’s Day, cherish that freedom, because even with the perfect soulmate there will be compromise.
It is a beautiful feeling to do things just for you, even if it sounds cliché to say: all love starts with self-love. But on top of self-love, learning to enjoy your own company is one of the most important things, because then you feel truly invincible.
When you’re good all by yourself, no relationship or person can break you. And even when you do meet someone, if it works out, that’s great, and if it doesn’t you know you’ll be okay.
For me, learning to love my solitude was the biggest gift of love I could grant myself. I hope the same for all of you, whether single or attached.
Happy Valentine’s Day and much love to all of you.
Image source: Stock Snap
Mira Saraf was born in Canada, grew up in New Delhi, and went to a British School half her life, and an American school the other half which has, as a result, made her grammar read more...
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