The other day I was on Facebook and I saw where women took pictures of their balloons, flowers and chocolates that they received from their significant others, family members and friends. I am quite sure there were women who bought their own gifts to make it look like they had a Valentine, a ploy that many desperate girls and women have used for years. But truthfully, who are you fooling? You know the truth. If goes to the many articles that I have read on how the holidays are difficult for single people, particularly women on a holiday that is really supposed to be about love. I  was encouraged by the thoughtful posts by male and females who wished EVERYBODY a happy holiday, whether you were in a relationship or not. It is vital that we love ourselves first and foremost, if we want love in our lives. How can you be in a successful relationship if you don’t love yourself, are stingy and non-demonstrative with love and dwell in past hurts and disappointments?

There is even the bigger picture of  loving God which further enhances love in all of your surroundings. having grace and compassion for others opens your world to a whole plethora of experiences and you will find that you have deeper, lasting relationships with friends in general, as opposed to superficial encounters, because you are radiating love. God places people in your life for a reason, and there is always a lesson to be learned.

Of course, if you are dealing with hurting people who lack the ability to express love, then you have a problem. If your friendship or relationship is one-sided, where is the joy in that? Therefore, you cannot pursue  it because then you end up being unfulfilled.  The meeting of like minds and like hearts seem instant, and you never have to guess where you stand with the other individual. I always wondered why I would pursue guys that were commit-phobic when the answer lied within me. I was broken and I was a reflection of them. Because in this case, similarities breed attraction, both parties knew that time together would be short-term or lackluster, something that was as Marion Wright Edelman term as “sex without the gratification”.

We want things in our culture quickly; we get impatient with waiting in lines, and driving in our cars. For some reason, people thought that the  Great Recession that almost could have been worse would be over immediately and jobs would appear overnight. Well, the factors that lead to the Great Recession did not happen so quickly but occurred over many years. People do not know how to wait, meditate, plan, investigate and then react. Relationships take time to cultivate and nourish. Only fools rush in and then you have two people wondering “why didn’t I see this coming?” Outsiders and experienced people who have lived on earth longer know and can predict if it will last. You really have to take time to really know someone and not get caught up in appearance, status, money, sex. One needs to ask themselves what do I bring to the table and what do I want and what attributes and I looking for in a relationship. If you are a male and you are concerned about a women’s banging body or a female and the size of a man’s wallet, then please know that what you have is a relationship that is standing on precarious ground and won’t even last a season.

I do not want to make the same mistakes at love over and over, so I am looking at successful relationships and they all say the same thing: friendship first, a belief in God, the ability to compromise and laughter. Those are the ingredients to longevity.

So for me to get bent out of shape over a virtual Valentine that was forwarded from someone else, a Happy Valentine Text, gas station flowers, a sub par greeting card is a non issue. These greetings and or gifts were all the sender could muster up. Maybe they are sending me a veiled message…I know I certainly missed the hundreds of gifts I received over the years as a public school teacher. But, it was just that, I was with these young people for most of the day and I tried to impart as much knowledge and wisdom as I could; I learned just as much from them as they did from me. Consequently, the students reveled in the joy of giving, and it was meaningful.

The last-minute, hastily gathered sentiments and gifts were from individuals who were fully invested in me…there was always some reluctance on their part. But that’s okay with me. Real recognizes real and one day when I am at my best I will find my counterpart. I am proud of myself for not becoming dejected over a holiday that can be perceived as commercial and painful to the “singletons”. Love thyself and God. One.