So Valentine's Day is just around the corner.
Huh? Really? Noooo.... I totally didn't notice all the radio ads and live radio talk shows discussing what to do and where to go with your significant other on Valentine's Day... and when the movie, Valentine's Day, which features all the Hollywood A-listers will be premiered here... very unpredictable! I didn't even realise the little V-Day dinner brochures that all these different restaurants slipped in between their menus.
With so much emphasis on romance it's hard not to feel pressured when you're feeling less than in love at the moment because it makes you feel like you're missing out on something special. If you're single or in a long distance relationship or you just had a fight with your significant other... don't cringe... take full advantage of Valentine's Day! Remember that it's basically just another day to celebrate love and love encompasses many relationships... not just the romantic relationship between two love birds. Since it falls on a Sunday this year it's the perfect time to spend some quality time with your family, friends or even just by yourself (it may sound silly but just keep reading...).
1. Pamper yourself and finally take the time to do something you truly love and enjoy. Book an appointment for a massage or give yourself a mani-pedi. Try one of those make up tutorials on YouTube. My favourite MUA's are MakeupAdikt, sccastaneda, julieg713, MakeUpbyTiffanyD and MakeUpGeek. Or start hitting the gym again and release those endorphins! Just knowing that you're doing a good job looking after yourself is one of the best feelings in life.
2. Organise a little get together with all your single and/or LDR-bound friends. A theme always makes it more fun and interesting. Make it a potluck so everyone can enjoy each other's talents in cooking!
3. Visit your cute little nieces and nephews or even babysit them. Kids have their own special way of making people happy. They say the darnest things and they actually kinda make you feel important haha! Do something child-friendly and bring out the inner child in you. You'll realise that there's nothing quite as beautiful as innocence. So cherish your innocence for as long as you can.
4. Quit a bad habit or at least take the measures to quit. "You must love yourself before you can love another". We've all heard that. While it does mean that we must first appreciate and respect ourselves... I think it also means that we have to evaluate who we are as a person and see if we can make any positive changes about our habits and behaviour. Listen to the words that you say when you speak and observe the gestures of your body language. What do they say about you? Are you going to find Mr. Right with the messages you are subconsciously or consciously sending to people around you?
5. Try some new recipes and cook for your family and/or friends. It's never a waste to learn some new cooking skills. People tell me that they wish they were better cooks... well it doesn't happen over night! It's all about practice. Don't be intidimidated... start with simple recipes and work your way to more challenging ones. Most of the time, the simplest recipes make some of the most delicious food. Allrecipes.com is a good place start because people submit their opinions and reviews after trying the recipes.
6. Sort out your wardrobe and come up with new outfit ideas with the pieces you already have. De-clutter and throw out or give away things you no longer need or use! When you give unconditionally, good things will start to happen in your life inshaAllah.
7. Explore the city as if you're a tourist. Go with a friend or even just by yourself so you can check out places your friends don't usually want to go. Don't be afraid of being alone, and I don't mean walking down a suspicious alleyway alone. If you're one of those people who like to drag a friend everywhere they go... this could be the perfect opportunity to try being independent. You just might learn a thing or two about yourself.
8. Get spiritual. Read an Islamic book or learn a new surah or two from the Qur'an.
9. Count your blessings and be grateful for everything that you have been blessed with so far. Other people have bigger problems to think about than to worry about not being in a relationship or to feel overwhelmed by missing a loved one who's far away.
10. Watch some good documentaries or shows. Here are a few just to get you started:
Little Mosque on the Prairie (this is one of my favourite episodes but do check out all the ones that lead to the latest season. LMOTP is funny and a lot of Muslims in the West can definitely relate to it.)
Illuminated - Positive and Negative Energy
Secrets of the Heart (to be honest, I don't usually feel like I can relate to men with beards haha! But the title of the show intrigued me and I'm glad I didn't judge the host by his looks because this is a really good show. I recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about the importance of purifying their hearts and intentions. "Everything you see, touch and hear goes straight to your heart.")
11. If all else fails, remember that you're Muslim and you're not supposed to be celebrating Valentine's Day anyway. Your love for Allah swt is more important than your love for anything else!
There's nothing wrong with being single and there's nothing wrong with not celebrating Valentine's Day either. As a teenager I grew up thinking that if I didn't have a boyfriend it meant that I wasn't pretty or cool enough. That's absolute rubbish. Don't think that what you see in tv shows and movies is what true romance is all about. Love isn't just an emotion, it's also a verb. Relationships require time, effort, patience and sacrifice. It's not always passionate and exciting. If you're going to be with someone just wait until you know for sure what it is you really want from a man and from the relationship itself. Trust me, you're not going to know this when you're 16, 20 or even 30 in some cases! Everyone goes through life at a different pace so don't feel pressurised, take your time. Enjoy being single while you can and use this time to get to know you and develop yourself into becoming a better person. Don't wait until Valentine's Day comes for you to start doing something positive. Start today and everyday.
And to all those who have found that special someone, check out The Sartorialist's a.k.a. Scott Schuman's, post about being a graceful lover, "A Graceful Man, A Gentleman". It's towards the end of the main page. It definitely brought a smile to my face. I checked out his biography and he's a pretty suave guy! Intelligent, handsome, impeccable taste in clothes ... sigh, I think it's time to lower my gaze.