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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‘Brave’ doesn’t always feel like certain, or strong, or ready. In fact, it rarely does. That what makes it brave.♥️
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#parenting #mindfulparenting #parentingtips
We teach our kids to respect adults and other children, and they should – respect is an important part of growing up to be a pretty great human. There’s something else though that’s even more important – teaching them to respect themselves first. 

We can’t stop difficult people coming into their lives. They might be teachers, coaches, peers, and eventually, colleagues, or perhaps people connected to the people who love them. What we can do though is give our kids independence of mind and permission to recognise that person and their behaviour as unacceptable to them. We can teach our kids that being kind and respectful doesn’t necessarily mean accepting someone’s behaviour, beliefs or influence. 

The kindness and respect we teach our children to show to others should never be used against them by those broken others who might do harm. We have to recognise as adults that the words and attitudes directed to our children can be just as damaging as anything physical. 

If the behaviour is from an adult, it’s up to us to guard our child’s safe space in the world even harder. That might be by withdrawing support for the adult, using our own voice with the adult to elevate our child’s, asking our child what they need and how we can help, helping them find their voice, withdrawing them from the environment. 

Of course there will be times our children do or say things that aren’t okay, but this never makes it okay for any adult in your child’s life to treat them in a way that leads them to feeling ‘less than’.

Sometimes the difficult person will be a peer. There is no ‘one certain way’ to deal with this. Sometimes it will involve mediation, role playing responses, clarifying the other child’s behaviour, asking for support from other adults in the environment, or letting go of the friendship.

Learning that it’s okay to let go of relationships is such an important part of full living. Too often we hold on to people who don’t deserve us. Not everyone who comes into our lives is meant to stay and if we can help our children start to think about this when they’re young, they’ll be so much more empowered and deliberate in their relationships when they’re older.♥️
When we are angry, there will always be another emotion underneath it. It is this way for all of us. 

Anger itself is a valid emotion so it’s important not to dismiss it. Emotion is e-motion - energy in motion. It has to find a way out, which is why telling an angry child to calm down or to keep their bodies still will only make things worse for them. They might comply, but their bodies will still be in a state of distress. 

Often, beneath an angry child is an anxious one needing our help. It’s the ‘fight’ part of the fight or flight response. As with all emotions, anger has a job to do - to help us to safety through movement, or to recruit support, or to give us the physical resources to meet a need or to change something that needs changing. It doesn’t mean it does the job well, because an angry brain means the feeling brain has the baton, while the thinking brain sits out for a while. What it means is that there is a valid need there and this young person is doing their very best to meet it, given their available resources in the moment or their developmental stage. 

Children need the same thing we all need when we’re feeling fierce - to be seen,  heard, and supported; to find a way to get the energy out, either with words or movement. Not to be shut down or ‘fixed’. 

Our job isn’t to stop their anger, but to help them find ways to feel it and express it in ways that don’t do damage. This will take lots of experience, and lots of time - and that’s okay.♥️
The SCCR Online Conference 2021 is a wonderful initiative by @sccrcentre (Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution) which will explore ’The Power of Reconnection’. I’ve been working with SCCR for many years. They do incredible work to build relationships between young people and the important adults around them, and I’m excited to be working with them again as part of this conference.

More than ever, relationships matter. They heal, provide a buffer against stress, and make the world feel a little softer and safer for our young people. Building meaningful connections can take time, and even the strongest relationships can feel the effects of disconnection from time to time. As part of this free webinar, I’ll be talking about the power of attachment relationships, and ways to build relationships with the children and teens in your life that protect, strengthen, and heal. 

The workshop will be on Monday 11 October at 7pm Brisbane, Australia time (10am Scotland time). The link to register is in my story.
There are many things that can send a nervous system into distress. These can include physiological (tired, hungry, unwell), sensory overload/ underload, real or perceived threat (anxiety), stressed resources (having to share, pay attention, learn new things, putting a lid on what they really think or want - the things that can send any of us to the end of ourselves).

Most of the time it’s developmental - the grown up brain is being built and still has a way to go. Like all beautiful, strong, important things, brains take time to build. The part of the brain that has a heavy hand in regulation launches into its big developmental window when kids are about 6 years old. It won’t be fully done developing until mid-late 20s. This is a great thing - it means we have a wide window of influence, and there is no hurry.

Like any building work, on the way to completion things will get messy sometimes - and that’s okay. It’s not a reflection of your young one and it’s not a reflection of your parenting. It’s a reflection of a brain in the midst of a build. It’s wondrous and fascinating and frustrating and maddening - it’s all the things.

The messy times are part of their development, not glitches in it. They are how it’s meant to be. They are important opportunities for us to influence their growth. It’s just how it happens. We have to be careful not to judge our children or ourselves because of these messy times, or let the judgement of others fill the space where love, curiosity, and gentle guidance should be. For sure, some days this will be easy, and some days it will feel harder - like splitting an atom with an axe kind of hard.

Their growth will always be best nurtured in the calm, loving space beside us. It won’t happen through punishment, ever. Consequences have a place if they make sense and are delivered in a way that doesn’t shame or separate them from us, either physically or emotionally. The best ‘consequence’ is the conversation with you in a space that is held by your warm loving strong presence, in a way that makes it safe for both of you to be curious, explore options, and understand what happened.♥️
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#mindfulparenting #positiveparenting #parenting

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