Romance as the "Cherry on Top"
Valentine's Day. While the sentiment behind today is to celebrate romantic love between 2 individuals, it also inadvertently makes those who are without a romantic interest more aware of their "single" status, which many automatically equate to being "lonely" or "alone."
The weeks and days leading up to today can cause those as young as children in elementary school some anxiety. Many, no matter what age, feel pressured to spend it with a romantic interest, or at the very least with someone, anyone. At times, it leads some to believe they need to scramble to find a date or someone to spend the day with, even if they may not truly feel as though the other person is a good fit for them.
I believe that first and foremost, one must be able to feel whole as an individual before one can make a romantic relationship work for them. While Hollywood and Disney tells us that finding that "perfect" mate will help us feel whole, that sense of wholeness actually cannot come from anywhere else other than from within. If we are unable to discern what we like/dislike, where our boundaries lie, and what is important/unimportant to us, how will we be able to determine if a potential mate is right for us?
Being a fan of sweets, I came up with a simple analogy of what this all means: Picture a sundae. Scoops of ice cream at the bottom, whipped cream, maybe some chocolate/caramel drizzle, and how about some sprinkles and/or chopped peanuts scattered on top? Then, at the very top, a bright red maraschino cherry! In order to be able to establish a healthy relationship, one must have most, if not all, of the main ingredients of the sundae determined and figured out (i.e. relationships with loved ones, goals, dreams, boundaries, etc.). It is when the base of the sundae is secure that we are then be able to add on the toppings (i.e. things that enhance our lives). And along with the rest of the toppings, the person you choose to share your life with should be the "cherry on top." This way, you make up the base of the sundae, and you are "full"-filled even before you add on the complexities of being in a romantic relationship with someone else.
You must know your own worth, rather than wait to have someone else determine what your worth is. If you do not know your worth, no one else will be able to value or appreciate you the way you want and deserve.
Whether or not you are in a romantic relationship this year, know that you are your own sundae, and that any (current or future) romantic partner is only invited to be a part of your life if they can contribute to making your life an even happier and better one.
“For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it. For every truth there is an ear somewhere to hear it. For every love there is a heart somewhere to receive it.” –Ivan Panin
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Michelle Chan, M.A., LMFT