licensed mental health counselor for creatives and LGBTQ community


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Being single on Valentine's Day: a Gestalt therapy perspective


Valentine’s day. To paraphrase Dickens, the best of times and the worst of times. The best of times when you are with someone; the worst of times when you are alone. That’s what the culture tells us.

But what is the reality?  Gestalt therapy asks us to consider both what is actually happening and what narrative are we bringing to that reality. If we are single on Valentine’s Day, the reality is that we are alone that one day. The narrative we can bring to this situation is that we are somehow deficient if we are alone on this one special day. 

If we are with someone on Valentine’s Day, we can feel we are on top of the world. However, what if the person we are with is someone we don’t know very well yet?  Because of the pressure to be happy on Valentine’s Day, it is so easy to fill in with ungrounded hope when we don’t know enough yet to be sure.

The Buddhist position is that nothing stays the same. The beautiful cloud in the sky as you enter the Buddhist temple will be gone upon leaving the temple later in the day.

Nothing is permanent, neither good nor bad.

So if you are alone on Valentine’s Day, can you enjoy the deliciousness of solitude that day? Or can you spend the evening with other single friends with whom you have a strong heart connection? Romantic love is only one kind of love.

If you are with someone, can you experience cautious optimism if you don’t know your date very well? And if you are with someone you have known someone long enough to trust, respect,  and love them, can you allow yourself to appreciate what you have?