A Divorced Girl’s Guide to Valentine’s Day

Written by:  Karen Jerabek and Michelle Joyce

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Valentine’s Day is known as a day for lovers. It’s epitomized by romance, flowers and candlelit dinners. Every time you flip on the television, you’re bombarded by 30 second commercials of couples walking hand in hand, gifts being exchanged and heartfelt proposals. It’s a day that could cause any divorced girl to have a nervous breakdown. There isn’t any other holiday that reminds you so dramatically that you are no longer part of a couple, you are no longer married, you are, in fact, divorced. Not only does Valentine’s Day bring up your emotions about your divorce, it also brings up your fears and anxieties about the thought of finding another relationship. So, what is a divorced girl to do?

It’s time for you to kick Cupid’s butt, that’s what! You don’t need to drown your sorrows or hide out in your bed. You just need to rethink what’s at the heart of this holiday. Toss aside the idea that this holiday is about cupid, his arrows and lovers. This is a day to celebrate love and the most important and often neglected love is the love that you have for yourself. It’s time to celebrate you and all your wonderfulness.

Every Valentine’s Day since my divorce, I’ve chosen to honor the day by celebrating me! In the past, I’ve sacrificed myself and my happiness in order to stay in relationships. Getting divorced freed me from living an unsatisfied, unhappy life. So, every year on Valentine’s Day, I celebrate my freedom. I’m living my life, my way. I won’t sacrifice that for anyone. Divorce has taught me that and I’m happier now than I ever thought possible, especially on Valentine’s Day.

No matter how brutal your divorce was, it’s time to get back to yourself and Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to reconnect with your soul. And I’m here to tell you exactly how to fall in love with yourself.

  1. Make a list of 10 things that make you special. They can be quirky or sincere. Think about what your friends and family have said to you over the years and think about what you enjoy about yourself. Is it your loyalty, your goofball sense of humor, or your uncanny ability to parallel park?

  2. Think about the times in your life when you’ve been really happy. Come up with 3 happy memories and use as many of your senses as you can to vividly relive that time. What is it about each of your memories that stand out? What do your memories have in common? The feelings that you are remembering show you where your center of joy exists. Just recalling these memories is getting you in touch with the part of you that you love the most. Katelyn’s favorite memory was the year she surprised her family for Christmas when they didn’t think she’d make it home. She loved seeing the look on her mom’s face and enjoyed the excitement of planning her secret surprise. At the heart of this memory is Katelyn’s joy for surprising people she cares about with a meaningful gift or gesture.

  3. Look for small ways you can share your happiness with others. When you share with others, you feel good about yourself. What’s the old adage? It’s better to give than to receive. It’s so true! We’re not talking about spending a lot of money on expensive gifts. We’re talking about sharing your love and happiness. How do you do that? That could mean putting together a small gift for a family member or friend or it could mean giving someone the gift of time. Spend time with a friend or family member. Help a friend or go bigger – volunteer. You will be amazed at how sharing your love with others can make you feel amazing!

  4. Take yourself on a date. Who needs a man these days to take them out and treat them like a princess? Not us! For most newly separated or divorced women, going out alone feels like something abnormal. When Michelle J. was first separated, she longed to go to the movies and forget about her problems. But it always seemed that when she was available her friends were not and when her friends could go she was busy. “I went by myself,” Michelle recalls, “I was scared at first. I was afraid everyone would stare at the poor, pathetic girl all alone at the movies. No one gave me a second look. I loved it and I didn’t have to share my popcorn!”

  5. Find a new hobby or rediscover an old one. Think back to the days before you got married. What made you – you? Did you love to hike or take walks? Did you love to read or do crosswords? Where you an adventurous person – always up for a road trip? A lot of times when two lives become one it means that the life you used to have goes by the wayside. When women enter relationships they tend to lose parts of their old life that made them happy. So think back to life before divorce and before marriage. What made you happy? Rediscover your love of old movies or riding horses. Better yet, jump start your new life by finding a new hobby. Take a class you’ve always wanted to or try rock climbing if it is something you think you might enjoy. It doesn’t matter what you do, just that you do it. So, get out there and do it!

Valentine’s Day is a day for LOVE. And, it’s high time you started to love yourself! Don’t hide out, fearing spending Valentine’s Day alone. Rejoice in the ability you have to create a brand new life for yourself. Relish this second chance you have. When you love yourself, you allow love to come into your life in a million different ways.

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