Feeling left out on Valentine’s Day?
Finally. A red rose. My Valentine’s Day wish had come true! But who was my secret admirer?
When I was in high school, students could secretly buy a rose from the school for their valentine. And year after year, I sat watching as these roses were handed out, never receiving one myself. It felt like a cruel ritual intended to single out those who were . . . single.
If only I could get just one rose, I thought. Then I’d be happy.
And then one year it finally happened. I was elated. Someone actually chose me! I was eager to get to lunch so I could show off my prize to my friends and speculate with them about who my secret admirer might be. But that “secret admirer”? It turned out to be one of my best buddies, who’d decided to buy a rose for each of her friends.
Don’t get me wrong: It was a kind gesture. But it also brought home to me the fact that my desperation had never really been about the rose. What I’d actually wanted was to stop feeling left out—and jealous of everyone else.
I wanted to stop feeling jealous of everyone else.
Maybe your school doesn’t do the red rose thing. But is it any better to scroll through social media and succumb to jealousy over others’ relationships? A while ago, I realized I didn’t want to do that anymore, either.
In the past, when I’ve felt upset about something, I’ve turned to God, quieted my thoughts, and prayed just as I learned to in Christian Science Sunday School, and this has always helped bring me peace and clarity. So when I wanted to let go of that left-out feeling, I turned to God and listened for an idea that would help move me forward. This time, one of my favorite Bible verses came to mind: “God is love” (I John 4:8). As I thought about what this means, it occurred to me that all the love that exists comes straight from God. Love doesn’t come from a person or a relationship, though these things are expressions of divine Love. Since this is the case, it didn’t make sense that the expression of God, Love, could in any way upset me or make me feel jealous or anxious—or forgotten. In fact, any example of love can only be a blessing, because it’s evidence of God.
Society tells us that it’s natural to want loving companionship, and that until you have it, you’ll never be fully complete or happy. Yet, I was starting to imagine a life in which I wasn’t jealous of other people, and in which I didn’t constantly pine after a relationship. I realized that I could be free from these thoughts and feelings—that I could find healing.
The idea came to read the chapter “Marriage” in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. In the past, I’d just skimmed this chapter, thinking that it could help me in the future when I was married, but that for the time being, it wasn’t all that important. But why would Mrs. Eddy include a whole chapter that excluded the entire population of single people . . . unless it actually didn’t? So, as I began to read, I asked myself what it would look like to study this chapter and implement the ideas in my day-to-day life as an unmarried person.
Any example of love could only be a blessing, because it’s evidence of God.
I found this new way of looking at the chapter eye-opening. For example, in one place it says, “Union of the masculine and feminine qualities constitutes completeness” (p. 57). Well, I knew from my study of Christian Science that God made each one of us complete. But I hadn’t necessarily thought of myself as having a perfect union of masculine and feminine qualities. After I read this, though, I made an effort to be grateful for the ways I expressed both the masculine and the feminine in myself and witnessed them in others.
Some beautiful qualities highlighted in the chapter on marriage indicate more about this union of the masculine and feminine. They include courage, strength, tenderness, goodness, virtue, noble life-motives, and unselfishness. As I started to accept that these qualities were already included in my life, it became clear that I really am complete. I realized I didn’t need a date, a relationship, or a marriage to experience and express these attributes—that they’re already a very practical part of my experience because they are God-given. The jealousy faded away, and I felt so much more free.
Since then, there have been plenty of Valentine’s Days—some with red roses, boxes of chocolates, and romantic dates, and others on my own with a good book, a movie, a call with a good friend, or whatever. Now when I see couples in real life or on social media, rather than making me feel jealous or anxious about my own love life, it puts a genuine smile on my face. I’m just happy to get to witness this expression of Love, and I’m grateful for my own complete expression of it, too.