I'm afraid I was a bit insensitive with my
Valentine's Day newsletter last year. Here's some reader
feedback that I received:
Oh, right, a depression newsletter talking
about Valentine's Day and promoting the sending of
Valentines. I would think that there could be one oasis
where my grumpy, depressed self could be free of that crap.
I'll admit my first reaction was, "How rude!
If you don't like the newsletter, unsubscribe!" Then I thought
some more and this guy is totally right. I've completely lost
touch with what it's like to be a single, depressed person on
Valentine's Day. Looking back, I remember many days when I would
see happy couples walk by and I would be eaten up by jealousy
and anger. If you're feeling lonely, Valentine's Day is just a
painful reminder of how alone you feel.
During the month of February, everywhere we
look there are hearts, cupids, and pictures of romantic couples
exchanging deep and meaningful glances. Single people feel as if
they have no place on Valentine's Day. It's just another day to
trudge through life without someone to share it with.
When it comes to the Holiday Blues,
Thanksgiving and Christmas don't have a corner on the market. In
fact, Valentine's Day depression is so common, it has even
spawned it's own Web sites. For the more cynical we have such
sites as The Anti-Valentine's Day Page (cupid rhymes with
stupid), Anti-Valentine's Day Central (colored black in
protest), and Bittersweet (language may be offensive to some,
but contains a guest book where you can vent your feelings about
why you hate Valentine's Day).
To my friend who wants an oasis where his
"grumpy, depressed self" can "be free of that crap", I must
apologize for being insensitive to your needs. Rather than
falling into the usual "hearts and candy" commercialism, I
should have offered you these strategies to create your own
oasis from loneliness:
• Don't feel there is something wrong with
you if you're not in a relationship. Your worth comes from
what you are, not who you're with.
• Don't look back at old relationships as
missed opportunities. Look to the future. Even those happy
couples you see were single before the met their current
love. Unless they're with their childhood sweetheart you can
bet that they've had their share of romantic failures too.
• Treat yourself to something special on
Valentine's Day. You deserve it.
• Valentine's Day isn't just about romantic
love. Do you know someone who's recently widowed or
divorced? Do you have a friend who's just gone through a
rough break up? Spend the evening with them and cheer each
• Take some time to reevaluate what you
really want in a relationship. Are your relationships not
lasting because you're choosing partners who aren't capable
of maintaining a mature, loving relationship?
• Be willing to take a chance. Like they say,
you have to play to win.
• Be a friend to yourself. If you like
yourself, the chances are better that someone else will like