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  • Writer's pictureSherri M. Herman

When You Feel Alone on Valentine's Day

Are you struggling with feeling alone this Feb 14th? Valentine's Day can be a tough time for many people, whether you’re single or not. It's easy to get caught up in the romanticized version of the holiday portrayed in movies and on social media, where love is depicted as grand gestures and fairy-tale romance. But the reality for many of us is quite different. I, too, have grappled with this day since I first understood its significance. Whether I'm single or partnered, my mind always floods with unrealistic expectations about what my Valentine's Day "should" look like (thank you, Hollywood). However, there’s one spiritual practice that makes all the difference for me when I have been or have felt alone on Valentine's Day.



two hands making heart shape


Instead of dwelling on unrealistic expectations and feeling even more isolated, let me share with you how you can shift your perspective and find love and fulfillment within yourself this Valentine's Day. One thing I've learned that makes Valentine’s Day more tolerable and even enjoyable for me is recognizing that most of my thoughts and expectations have nothing to do with reality. And in order for me to recognize this, there’s one spiritual practice I come back to over and over: mindfulness.


Before you roll your eyes at another mention of mindfulness practice, hang in there with me. There's a reason I will always reinforce mindfulness practice: because it works. It really, really does. I've been practicing mindfulness for over 10 years, and I can no longer live without it.


But unfortunately, it doesn’t work if you only read about it or think about it. The scientific studies on mindfulness are impossible to ignore. Not only can mindfulness practice lower blood pressure, improve sleep, decrease depression and anxiety, but when practiced regularly, mindfulness has been shown to reduce our reactivity to our thoughts and emotions.


I personally practice mindfulness in the American Zen Buddhist tradition. This means that I sit in silence, usually staring at a blank wall or the floor, and I just let my thoughts and feelings come and go without trying to change anything. It’s like sitting in a river and just letting everything float on by. Sitting meditation is not the only form of mindfulness practice. You can practice mindfulness while walking, cleaning, eating, or really doing anything; it’s all about how you engage with the moment.


Will mindfulness solve all of your problems? No. Will mindfulness make you feel perfectly calm and peaceful all of the time? No. What does this have to do with Valentine’s Day and loneliness, you ask? Truthfully, mindfulness can help you face reality with greater clarity which gives you more space to respond to yourself with acceptance and compassion, and then take action based on what truly matters most to you.


Mindfulness can help you respond to the moment with intention and care rather than being purely reactive to every little thought that floats across your mind, including those pesky unrealistic expectations about Valentine’s Day. Above all, mindfulness practice can really help you stay connected to your true self, beneath your fluttering ego. When you are connected to your true self, you can feel more connected to your loving Higher Power and the loving energy that is within you always.


As you navigate through this Valentine's Day, remember that the greatest love you can ever experience is the love you cultivate within yourself. Mindfulness practice offers a pathway to deepen this love by allowing you to experience some freedom from your thoughts and emotions. Through mindfulness, you can develop a profound connection with your true self, free from the constraints of external expectations and judgments.


So, as you sit in stillness or engage mindfully in your daily activities, embrace the opportunity to nurture a relationship of unconditional love and kindness with yourself. This Valentine's Day, let mindfulness be your guide as you embark on a journey of self-discovery, self-compassion, and profound self-love.


If you’re interested in beginning a mindfulness practice, here are 5 tips to help you get started:


  1. Decide on an activity that will become the cornerstone of your mindfulness practice. This could be sitting, walking, doing dishes, sweeping, etc.

  2. Start small. Begin with any length of time that feels comfortable, such as 5 or 10 minutes, and increase your time incrementally as you feel more comfortable.

  3. Be specific about when you will practice. Decide when in your day you will do your practice each day.

  4. Be consistent in your practice. Life happens and sometimes you miss a day, but try to not miss two or more days in a row.

  5. Be kind to yourself and keep coming back. Mindfulness is a skill and like learning any new skill, it takes practice, patience, and persistence.


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And remember,

you are always loved no matter what.

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