Valentine’s Day. Traditionally the loneliest day of the year. I happened to have the pleasure of spending this year’s February 14th alone and, to be honest, I quite enjoyed it. Don’t get me wrong; spending the day with someone would be lovely but is spending it alone the worst thing in the world?
A few of my friends have just come out of relationships and understandably for them the haunt of the ‘life that was’ made it a difficult day. The only advice I could give them was some advice that I would push on any willing listener every day of the year – learn to love yourself as priorities one through nine. Priority ten is finding someone else to love. If you’re not in a relationship, the single most important person on Valentine’s Day is yourself.
What comes to mind when you think of a lonely person? Is it someone shy? Is it someone old? Is it a middle-aged woman with a husband and three kids? Loneliness will affect everyone at some point in their lives, and for the vast majority it will affect us significantly. If you’ve suffered from it you will understand that it’s not relevant whether you’re on your own in a room or surrounded by people. You will understand that it can strike you at unexpected times and in unexpected places. You will understand how it can take hold of your reality.
One of the most important skills anyone can master is to learn to be alone. Being alone can be lonely but it doesn’t have to be, and part of the fix is to be happy with who you are. Being alone is largely seen as a negative thing, but every single person requires some time to themselves. The amount of social interaction required for a happy individual differs from person to person and is often dictated by circumstance, but you need at least some time to just be with yourself. Learning to be at ease with your own company enables you to enjoy these moments, and any other moments when you perhaps wish you weren’t alone.
When I happen to be by myself I do things that make me happy. The fact that I might be happier if I wasn’t alone is irrelevant; I could either sit at home in self pity or go out and do something I enjoy. Even if it’s Valentine’s Day. So, I went to the cinema and saw The Muppets!
I’m having a “Me Party”, a party by myself. A “Me Party”, I don’t need nobody else! I’m having a “Me Party”, I’m the first and last to show. There’s no-one at this party that I don’t already know.
Not gonna lie. It was slightly awkward sitting there by myself during that song, but it was fun. The Muppets remains a very adult-friendly children’s film with some amazing music and funny moments. After The Muppets, I stayed on and saw Man On A Ledge which was also a decent film.
I know that I’m lucky to be this OK with spending days like this alone. It might be nothing compared to the isolation some people in the world feel, but it is still a massive challenge for many others. The fact of life is that many people, especially the older generation, don’t have a choice but to cope with the fears and insecurities that being alone can bring. I admire those that primarily face each day alone with dignity and happiness and hope that we all can find the strength to be as brave as they are when loneliness strikes.
I guess that brings me back to my point about relationships. By loving yourself you give your relationship the best possible chance of succeeding, and give yourself the best chance of coping if things go wrong. Don’t you owe yourself that? The world can be a dark place and it takes an agile mind to dance through a day when you’re living inside your head.
Maybe then, even in loneliness, we could all be as happy as The Muppets.
Life’s a fillet of fish… Yes, it is!