Saturday, April 19, 2014

A Study in Symmetry by Elizabeth Horner

I’ve been writing articles since I was nine years old. And, in all that time, I cannot remember having penned any about Valentine’s Day. Of course, my memory could have swallowed one or two up: some reference to the card exchanges in elementary school or the abundance of chocolate spilling out of the grocery aisles come February--- but I’m sure I never discussed the issue itself. Why?

I didn’t like admitting that I was alone.

And though I knew that there were many other people like me out there, who resented the love-saturated atmosphere of this particular holiday, I still thought my situation was particularly bad--- not because I wasn’t in a relationship, but because I had never been in one. In fact, I stopped thinking about chemistry and more about statistics: was there something so wrong with me that out of all the people in this world no-one had cared to look my way. It was completely the wrong attitude.

Now, a year-and-a-half into my first relationship, I am suddenly proud of all those years I spent by myself--- less so than I would have been if they had been my choice--- but still proud. Because if I had spent one of my past Valentine’s Days with someone else, who I knew was only a temporary fixture in my life, than it would detract from the significance of all future Valentines Days. If I had their arm around my shoulder, and shared my first kiss with them, then how could I help but compare my boyfriend to them--- and wouldn’t that be such a disservice, even if it proved he was infinitely better?

I’m really not trying to get into the personal stuff. I believe in words as doorways, but the portal shouldn’t open at a newspaper article and end as a diary entry; all the same, it’s easy to feel as if one’s sense of worth is tied into whether or not they are in a relationship, and I want to tell you, your worth is more times reflected by the kind of relationship you are in.

Ayn Rand wrote: “He will always be attracted to the woman who reflects his deepest vision of himself,” stating that we seek the love that we believe we are worthy of. If you are worried about spending Valentine’s Day by yourself--- then know that it would have taken somebody pretty incredible to have improved on the company.

And rather than sitting around, contemplating that aisle of chocolates (which I do think are as much for the singles as the people in relationships), make this a day of activity: read, exercise, get out that old musical instrument you haven’t played in ages--- doing things that you like and are good at can improve your sense of worth, and remind you that you are deserving of something great.

When it comes to living a full life, it’s easy to feel as if you are wasting time by not being in a relationship; what’s worse is being in one and realizing you might be wasting time anyway. I’ve heard many times, love is an act of faith--- but it is only recently that I have discovered that some of that faith comes before you meet that person; that in order to be ready to “love and honor” that person when they come, you have to first, honor and love yourself.

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