By Kacie Wedel
It’s February! Most commonly thought of as “the month of love,” we have the notable holiday – Valentine’s Day. Does the thought of this day make you feel pressured to find someone to spend the 14th with?
Thanks to social media, we’re constantly bombarded with posts from our friends and family boasting their relationships. Our newsfeed will be filled with gifts they received or activities they participated in. This can quickly and easily become overwhelming and lower our self esteem.
Celebrating Valentine’s Day is not a bad thing! Sharing the things you love (gifts, experiences, etc) on social media is not a bad thing!
If you find yourself spending the holiday alone, I want you to know – I’m here for you. I feel for you. A great way to avoid the stress 14 February can bring is by focusing on yourself and of course your friends!
Brought to us by the lovely Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation is the (sort of) newer, more fondly celebrated for those of us that are single, Galentine’s Day. In Leslie’s words, “February 14th, Valentine’s Day, is about romance, but February 13th, Galentine’s Day, is about celebrating lady friends!” We as women need to lift one another up and celebrate the friendships we share.
Toxic Relationships: 3 Red Flags You Should Watch Out For
What does a healthy friendship look like?
Taking a day to focus on the relationships we share with those in our inner circle has many benefits. They’re the people we can confide in and they build us up and help us grow into the best selves we can be. I genuinely believe that these friends are the legitimate loves of our lives.
My poor friends, I don’t know how they put up with me, but I couldn’t be more appreciative! From listening to me constantly complain in the past about my wildly toxic ex-best friend (don’t miss that!) to making the best memories filled with so much laughter. They are the true definitions of having healthy friendships.
- Trust (probably what I deem most important).
- A desire to want what’s best for each other.
- Consideration for one another’s feelings.
- An authentic form of understanding.
- Equality – the ability to give and take and be there for one another in a comparable way.
Why friendships are important
As I said earlier, maintaining healthy friendships has a multitude of benefits. As humans, we are deeply social by nature. If you want to look at friendships from a scientific perspective you’ll see that they aid in enhanced self-esteem, happiness, lower stress levels, and can even help strengthen your immune system.
For example, I have gratefully had the ability to call upon one of my friends who, at the time, lived two and a half hours away. I called her around 10:00 pm, sobbing, with nowhere to go and despite the distance, I was able to drive to her where she waited with warm blankets and some snacks. She was ready to let me wail it out regardless of needing to be up early for work the next morning and let me vent until I felt better.
Another friend, in spite of our vast differences, has loved me in a way that very clearly defines “unconditional.” We talk the least, but our bond has never lessened, and her friendship has remained as strong as it was ten years ago.
Finally, another friend of mine lives just shy of 5,000 miles away, but that has yet to negatively affect our relationship. Undeterred by how far apart we are and our time difference, she is there anytime I need her and has easily become family.
While no two friendships are the same, the characteristics that create a healthy relationship remain.
Each of my friends are exceedingly different, yet they all share the same values. We are there for one another. We encourage one another. And most importantly, we leave behind any judgements, we compromise, and we respect one another.
If all else fails, love yourself
The most important thing you can do, whether it’s for Galentine’s Day or Valentine’s Day, is love yourself. Put yourself first. We’re all deserving of love in its purest forms and this doesn’t exclude the love that we receive from within.
“When you start loving yourself and realising your worth, you’re less likely to rely on others to validate you.” – Camila Karalyte
Naturally, we look for validation from others. It’s important to remember that in reality we only see the sides of people they want us to see. It’s easy to assume that our peers have their lives together and are happy, but that’s not always accurate.
Frequently, we are our own worst critics. This can be so detrimental to our mental health. Negative self talk lowers our self esteem, can lead to depression and anxiety, and can affect your relationships. A motto I live by is, “The words you speak become the house you live in.” When that house, your mindset, is filled with negativity it will begin to show in most aspects of your life.
While the topic of self touch might be something that’s more taboo, it’s something that is completely normal. There is no reason to feel shame or guilt in the process. Self pleasure can aid in stress release, fight off insomnia, and can even prevent cervical infections. By following the Kama Method, you remain open and connected with yourself and focus on 5 key elements of your body allowing you to explore yourself in a new way.
Chloe Macintosh: Placing Pleasure At The Conversation’s Forefront With Kama
Embrace finding a relationship in any form
Don’t stress about needing a “significant other” for Valentine’s Day.
Our friends will always be there for us and that’s pretty significant itself. Of course, with COVID restrictions, we might not be able to gather with our group of friends at our favourite brunch spot. Instead, make some mimosas and hop on zoom to celebrate. You could decorate together, plan a movie marathon with your favourite snacks, or write letters of gratitude to the people in your life that you’re most thankful for.
Remember that relationships don’t have to be limited to a “significant other.” The relationships shared in the form of friendship, family, or your relationship with yourself are just as important. Love yourself wholly and completely. By grounding yourself in reality and remaining positive and patient, everything else will fall into place.