This Valentine’s Day, I feel a mixture of relief, release and determination.

I’m spending the day as a single woman, and I’m immensely happy about that fact.

The past two weeks found me signing up for two dating websites because I thought, “I’ve never done this before, and staying open to possibility can’t hurt!” So far, it’s been nice and I’m sure I could find a date so that I don’t have to be on my own, but do I really want to be with anyone this year? The experience had me wondering how I wanted to spend Valentine’s Day. With a new-found understanding of my worth and what I want for myself, I can honestly say I’m glad that I’m flying solo. Not because of drama or anything else along those lines, but simply because I wanted to spend another Valentine’s Day doing what I’d done many years before.

Several years ago, my marriage ended (people tell you a lot about gay marriage but not so much about gay divorce), and I spent the next year out of the dating scene with intention. I made it my mission to date myself for a year. That year ended with me marrying myself on a beach in Michigan, and I got a tattoo to celebrate what I figured out along the way.

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I learned so much about myself in the process. Rather than take the marriage ending as a bad thing, I knew I wanted to make this a time for positive change and made it as ceremonial and filled with love as the process of getting married was for me.

I thought long and hard about the kind of relationship I wanted and started to do for myself, the things I so badly wanted a partner to do for me. I remember the funny looks I received, when buying books titled, “Calling In The One”, but I started reading books like that as though “The One” I was looking for was really me all along. I planned dates like I was dating myself, pulling out all the stops with full makeup and dressing like I was going somewhere to show off my best features.

It was the time where I learned that love isn’t something you get, make, build or break. You can’t do any of those things with love because it’s within us. The only real thing we can do with love is give it, because the only place we’ll be able to find it is within ourselves.

I learned that the quality of relationships I let in and the pain that stemmed from them had to do a great deal with lessons I was learning. Having been in abusive relationships before that, I can attest to the fact that bad things do happen and often without us realizing what’s fully happening. The bottom line became though, that the more I fell in love with myself, the less I looked for others to meet needs that allowed them to hurt me profoundly with them afterwards. It was a whole new kind of vulnerability that opened the doors for genuinely healthy relationships to come forward.

While on some of those dates, I felt so much love around me, even though no one was around at all. One trip in particular saw me grateful for some warmer weather on a cold rainy morning, and so I ventured out to Port Credit where I found this card wedged in between some rocks as though tucked away like a gift from the universe for me to find.

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Why am I sharing this in time for Valentine’s Day?

Because I hope that once, at least once in your lifetime, you fall head over heels for yourself because truly, you’re going to be with yourself for a very long time.

What if the romantic partner you want so badly is the one looking back at you in the mirror?

What would you do with all the energy you spend on fixing it and yourself? What if who you were right here, and now was more than enough? What would you do with your time, and how would you spend it if you weren’t going on handfuls of dates or browsing through pages and pages of dating sites looking for “the one”.

What I learned was that the sky doesn’t fall, a few tears may fall along the way because you realize some heavy things about yourself, but the bottom line is that I was the one I was looking for. I so badly wanted someone to “save” me- from bad dates, my single status, loneliness – you name it. I most wanted someone to save me and I learned that there will always be people to save us, as the world is filled with people looking to help and play that role in the lives of others, but the question I had to ask myself is, “Do I really want someone to be with me only because they like the idea of saving me, when there’s so much more to me?”

It’s true that the journey has come full circle and the person who started that journey a few years ago is many dates and relationships from where she was before, but I share this because I think that more than feeling single, it’s worth celebrating it. It means you’re not settling for something that feels awful but that fills the space. It means that you have an opportunity to do something for yourself and invest in what it means to be you.

It also means you have a chance to romance yourself like you want to be romanced.

Remember to spoil yourself the way you want to be spoiled and rather than feel the wretch inside as you walk past cards, look through them! Think of the ones you’d love to receive and get one for yourself. Look at flowers and buy some for yourself and maybe even be so bold as to make reservations for one.

Thank you for your eyes through this longer post, and remember that V-Day doesn’t need to be about loving anyone other than beautiful you.

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Love, Light and Miracles,

~Cheryl~

About the Author

Cheryl Costello is the founder of The Finding Hearts Project, also writes for the Brampton Focus and formerly wrote at The Loving Instant. She has also worked with Fortune 500 and Financial Post 500 companies to bring greater attention, awareness and action for LGBTQ+ issues, giving the community a powerful voice. She has conducted workshops for LGBTQ+ students on the power of reclaiming their power through owning the stories they tell and was also a Keynote speaker at a Toronto World Pride event in 2014. If she isn’t writing or organizing in the community, she’s out with her camera, wandering a bookstore or out hiking among trees and water. Have a question you want to see answered on the blog? Stop by her page on Instagram, join in the good vibes and send her a message: @cherylalisoncostello