FEBRUARY is associated with St Valentine’s Day, and with that the copious adverts prodding and guilt-tripping us into buying our ‘tokens of affection’ to display our ‘happy couple’ status.
For some people it’s all a harsh reminder of lost or unrequited love, of being without a partner, and feeling lonely.
Being alone doesn’t necessarily equate to loneliness. We can all feel lonely, even amongst a crowd, or from being in a relationship when we aren’t on the same ‘wavelength’ as our partner.
Some people prefer to be alone, and chose not to be in a relationship, perhaps fearing commitment or emotional intimacy.
It can feel easier to avoid getting emotionally close to someone, than to risk the pain of losing that person’s care, attention and love. If we ‘play safe’ like this we then deny ourselves the joy of feeling loved and valued by someone special to us.
There are other ways in which we avoid forming close relationships too.
For example, by keeping ourselves overly busy, distracted and unavailable; or keeping relationships ‘light’, uncommitted and vague – so as maintain a sense of freedom and not feel trapped or constrained.
It takes two to make a relationship, but only one to break it.
What pattern have you set up for your own relationships?
This will stem from your earlier experiences and subsequent beliefs about getting close to people, how vulnerable you felt, and how painful the consequences were.
Patterns can be changed when we become aware of them.
If you do decide to venture into Relationship Land this February, then at least be sure that your motivation and desire doesn’t stem from feelings of desperation – or you’ll end up settling for whatever you can find, and the likelihood is that you’ll feel more painfully lonely than you did beforehand.
The most important relationship of your life is the one you have with yourself.
So first things first, become your own loving parent, best friend and playmate – enjoy being you, loving you, compassionately caring for you, and you’ll attract more of the same into your life – no matter what month of the year it is!
Maxine Harley (MSc Psychotherapy)
Maxine Harley has a masters degree in psychotherapy, has written two books, and created four new approaches to psychological, emotional and physical well-being. She lives happily in Chichester with her daughter and grandson.