The Best Things About Being Single on Valentine’s Day

If you’re single, Valentine’s Day can feel as though its sole purpose is to point out that you’re the only person on the planet not intimately tied to another human. Every other day you’re a happily independent, completely contented lady human – then February 14 shows up in your week like it lives there and you’re reminded that lovers of each other get their own day, but lovers of both sides of the bed (at once), Saturday night Sex and the City DVD marathons and not-being-with-someone-just-for-the-sake-of-it get nothing. 

Let’s not fall for it. Being alone on Valentine’s Day does have its perks. As you’re reading the list that follows and noticing the glass half empty turning into a glass half full, remind yourself that whatever the glass is – full/ empty/ wine/ water/ delicious chocolate coated snacks – it’s yours, all yours – and you don’t have to share it with anyone. There are plenty of reasons to celebrate being single this Valentine’s Day. Here are eight of them.

  1. The delirious joy of knowing you won’t be disappointed by the questionable quality of presents or the lack of. (Seriously – a vacuum cleaner? Yes. I know mine’s broken but for Valentine’s Day? Vacuum this. Pffft.)
  2. The giddy pleasure of not having a Valentine’s Day argument. On Valentine’s Day, expectations have a way of soaring to dizzying heights and from there the only direction is down. The potential for disappointment is enormous. It’s exhausting having to estimate the exact heaviness of the sigh to exhale as you’re lying upset and angry along your edge of the bed. Too much and it’s fake and clearly designed to manipulate. Not enough and it’s wasted – he just won’t hear it and there’s no chance of manipulation at all. It’s hard work pretending to be asleep, or upset, or is that asleep and not upset? See? It’s too much. Who needs it? Give me a family size meat lovers with extra everything and that Sex and the City box set any day. 
  3. The potential for new love. Nobody is suggesting you break that online dating website with your enthusiasm but someone out there is waiting to meet someone like you. Now, thanks to your vision and the fortunate stroke of serendipity, you’ll be available when he finds you. Should he meet your exacting standards, he’s a lucky lucky man. Yes. He is. 
  4. The money you save. Valentine’s Day is so expensive. Outfit, fancy knickers, present, cab fares, babysitters, food, drinks, all leading to the glistening finale of sitting crowded restaurant wondering how he could ever think you’d thrill over a vacuum cleaner and bumping elbows with the giddy young couple next to you who are discussing whether the $40 leak soup entree would do as a main for two. Save your money for something less painful. Maybe a full body wax. 
  5. The satisfaction of knowing – with perfect certainty – that you’re not with the wrong person. Being with the wrong person is infinitely worse than being with nobody at all. When you’re stuck in the wrong relationship, the potential for something better is stuck too. Well done for freeing yourself up for the relationship you deserve when it finds you. And get ready. It’s coming.
  6. Flowers. They have a life span. I love flowers. Love them. But when they’re given by someone special, or by someone who wants to be thought of that way, there’s always the problem of when to get rid of them. Too soon and you’re cutting across the sentimentality of it all, but leave it too long and they’re shedding bits and pieces like they own the place. No relationship. No flowers. No problem. 
  7. You’re saving the planet from packaging and paper that’s on its way to landfills and contributing to the slow, dusty demise of the planet. As for your wine bottles and pizza boxes? That’s different. Food and drink are necessities. And besides, everyone knows they’re recyclable. Here’s to you eco-warrior.
  8. You can relax during dinner without fear of being a massive disappointment. Get into that tv-dinner-for-one, safe and sound in the knowledge that should an allergic reaction unfold, you’re not disappointing anybody. If the worst happens, nobody is going to get in your way while you pack yourself with antihistamines and fall asleep on the couch. Go for it Sleeping Beauty. And for those on a date – best of luck and remember that if he really loves you, those puffy eyes won’t bother him at all.

Whatever you’re doing this Valentine’s Day, enjoy it. Nobody deserves your loving more than you. 

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When things feel hard or the world feels big, children will be looking to their important adults for signs of safety. They will be asking, ‘Do you think I'm safe?' 'Do you think I can do this?' With everything in us, we have to send the message, ‘Yes! Yes love, this is hard and you are safe. You can do hard things.'

Even if we believe they are up to the challenge, it can be difficult to communicate this with absolute confidence. We love them, and when they're distressed, we're going to feel it. Inadvertently, we can align with their fear and send signals of danger, especially through nonverbals. 

What they need is for us to align with their 'brave' - that part of them that wants to do hard things and has the courage to do them. It might be small but it will be there. Like a muscle, courage strengthens with use - little by little, but the potential is always there.

First, let them feel you inside their world, not outside of it. This lets their anxious brain know that support is here - that you see what they see and you get it. This happens through validation. It doesn't mean you agree. It means that you see what they see, and feel what they feel. Meet the intensity of their emotion, so they can feel you with them. It can come off as insincere if your nonverbals are overly calm in the face of their distress. (Think a zen-like low, monotone voice and neutral face - both can be read as threat by an anxious brain). Try:

'This is big for you isn't it!' 
'It's awful having to do things you haven't done before. What you are feeling makes so much sense. I'd feel the same!

Once they really feel you there with them, then they can trust what comes next, which is your felt belief that they will be safe, and that they can do hard things. 

Even if things don't go to plan, you know they will cope. This can be hard, especially because it is so easy to 'catch' their anxiety. When it feels like anxiety is drawing you both in, take a moment, breathe, and ask, 'Do I believe in them, or their anxiety?' Let your answer guide you, because you know your young one was built for big, beautiful things. It's in them. Anxiety is part of their move towards brave, not the end of it.
Sometimes we all just need space to talk to someone who will listen without giving advice, or problem solving, or lecturing. Someone who will let us talk, and who can handle our experiences and words and feelings without having to smooth out the wrinkles or tidy the frayed edges. 

Our kids need this too, but as their important adults, it can be hard to hush without needing to fix things, or gather up their experience and bundle it into a learning that will grow them. We do this because we love them, but it can also mean that they choose not to let us in for the wrong reasons. 

We can’t help them if we don’t know what’s happening in their world, and entry will be on their terms - even more as they get older. As they grow, they won’t trust us with the big things if we don’t give them the opportunity to learn that we can handle the little things (which might feel seismic to them). They won’t let us in to their world unless we make it safe for them to.

When my own kids were small, we had a rule that when I picked them up from school they could tell me anything, and when we drove into the driveway, the conversation would be finished if they wanted it to be. They only put this rule into play a few times, but it was enough for them to learn that it was safe to talk about anything, and for me to hear what was happening in that part of their world that happened without me. My gosh though, there were times that the end of the conversation would be jarring and breathtaking and so unfinished for me, but every time they would come back when they were ready and we would finish the chat. As it turned out, I had to trust them as much as I wanted them to trust me. But that’s how parenting is really isn’t it.

Of course there will always be lessons in their experiences we will want to hear straight up, but we also need them to learn that we are safe to come to.  We need them to know that there isn’t anything about them or their life we can’t handle, and when the world feels hard or uncertain, it’s safe here. By building safety, we build our connection and influence. It’s just how it seems to work.♥️
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#parenting #parenthood #mindfulparenting
Words can be hard sometimes. The right words can be orbital and unconquerable and hard to grab hold of. Feelings though - they’ll always make themselves known, with or without the ‘why’. 

Kids and teens are no different to the rest of us. Their feelings can feel bigger than words - unfathomable and messy and too much to be lassoed into language. If we tap into our own experience, we can sometimes (not all the time) get an idea of what they might need. 

It’s completely understandable that new things or hard things (such as going back to school) might drive thoughts of falls and fails and missteps. When this happens, it’s not so much the hard thing or the new thing that drives avoidance, but thoughts of failing or not being good enough. The more meaningful the ‘thing’ is, the more this is likely to happen. If you can look behind the words, and through to the intention - to avoid failure more than the new or difficult experience, it can be easier to give them what they need. 

Often, ‘I can’t’ means, ‘What if I can’t?’ or, ‘Do you think I can?’, or, ‘Will you still think I’m brave, strong, and capable of I fail?’ They need to know that the outcome won’t make any difference at all to how much you adore them, and how capable and exceptional you think they are. By focusing on process, (the courage to give it a go), we clear the runway so they can feel safer to crawl, then walk, then run, then fly. 

It takes time to reach full flight in anything, but in the meantime the stumbling can make even the strongest of hearts feel vulnerable. The more we focus on process over outcome (their courage to try over the result), and who they are over what they do (their courage, tenacity, curiosity over the outcome), the safer they will feel to try new things or hard things. We know they can do hard things, and the beauty and expansion comes first in the willingness to try. 
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#parenting #mindfulparenting #positiveparenting #mindfulparent
Never in the history of forever has there been such a  lavish opportunity for a year to be better than the last. Not to be grabby, but you know what I’d love this year? Less opportunities that come in the name of ‘resilience’. I’m ready for joy, or adventure, or connection, or gratitude, or courage - anything else but resilience really. Opportunities for resilience have a place, but 2020 has been relentless with its servings, and it’s time for an out breath. Here’s hoping 2021 will be a year that wraps its loving arms around us. I’m ready for that. x
The holidays are a wonderland of everything that can lead to hyped up, exhausted, cranky, excited, happy kids (and adults). Sometimes they’ll cycle through all of these within ten minutes. Sugar will constantly pry their little mouths wide open and jump inside, routines will laugh at you from a distance, there will be gatherings and parties, and everything will feel a little bit different to usual. And a bit like magic. 

Know that whatever happens, it’s all part of what the holidays are meant to look like. They aren’t meant to be pristine and orderly and exactly as planned. They were never meant to be that. Christmas is about people, your favourite ones, not tasks. If focusing on the people means some of the tasks fall down, let that be okay, because that’s what Christmas is. It’s about you and your people. It’s not about proving your parenting stamina, or that you’ve raised perfectly well-behaved humans, or that your family can polish up like the catalog ones any day of the week, or that you can create restaurant quality meals and decorate the table like you were born doing it. Christmas is messy and ridiculous and exhausting and there will be plenty of frayed edges. And plenty of magic. The magic will happen the way it always happens. Not with the decorations or the trimmings or the food or the polish, but by being with the ones you love, and the ones who love you right back.

When it all starts to feel too important, too necessary and too ‘un-let-go-able’, be guided by the bigger truth, which is that more than anything, you will all remember how you all felt – as in how happy they felt, how loved they felt were, how noticed they felt. They won’t care about the instagram-worthy meals on the table, the cleanliness of the floors, how many relatives they visited, or how impressed other grown-ups were with their clean faces and darling smiles. It’s easy to forget sometimes, that what matters most at Christmas isn’t the tasks, but the people – the ones who would give up pretty much anything just to have the day with you.

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