“Let me tell you, photographing couples in love as a forever single person in your mid 30s is rouuuuuuuugh!! It’s the highest of highs serving people with the gift I have for freezing time. Afterwards, I would have to fight the urge to think“maybe this is as close as I’ll ever get.”
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve wept through my drive back home after photographing a couple madly in love…sometimes I could barely even see through the tears on my wedding edits.(Hence why I don’t post very often) It made me pull back from social media to experience life more for myself, not while documenting someone else’s life.” ~ Jennifer Sosa
Sounds familiar? You don’t even have to be a wedding photographer to experience this at some stage in life. While being single is one of the most exciting, self-discovering and fun periods of your life, movies, books, ads, social media posts, gosh, even your local cafes occasionally exploit our desire to feel loved, needed and cared for. And while some of us are lucky enough to find a partner in crime early in life, the rest of us have to go through multiple trial and errors, which can sometimes put you down and make you doubt your own awesomeness.
As a wedding photographer you’re committing yourself to always be around couples and photograph love, no matter what’s your current state of mind and relationship status.
The above quote by Jennifer Sosa, an LA based wedding and lifestyle photographer, is actually a snippet of her recent Instagram post. It has a happy ending. Yet, when Jen posted it, we couldn’t ignore the magnitude and importances of this unspoken topic. Even though it’s a very personal and intimate subject, that takes courage to talk about – Jennifer agreed to share her experience and advice with us, and you guys.
Here you go, a Single’s Guide to celebrating Valentine’s every day, to rediscovering, reconnecting and learning to love yourself, to accepting the fact that you’re enough and always will be. Huge thank you to Jennifer Sosa for what you’re about to read below:
“Being single on Valentine’s Day can often feel like the worst but it doesn’t have to be. I’ve been shooting weddings for the past decade experiencing love stories through my camera and have yet to experience the romantic Valentine’s day commercialized in our culture. I quickly learned how to shift my perspective or sit in my own misery for a day. Spoiler alert: The later only feels good briefly. Here are a few tips I’ve collected over the years…
- You don’t have to do this alone. Creating memories with friends when you would rather have a pity party can be chicken soup for the soul. Catch up with someone you miss and show love in the way you would love to receive it. Love is the kind of currency that never gets wasted. One of my new favorite quotes by Sydney Smith goes “ Try to make at least one person happy every day, and then in ten years you may have made three thousand, six hundred and fifty persons happy, or brightened a small town by your contribution to the fund of general enjoyment.” Even when you don’t receive love directly in the way you would like, love will always come back for you when you are open to receive it.
- Be grateful for the love that is already in your life. It’s so easy to go through life and take for granted the people who show you love. Send cards with your favorite memories to your favorite people. I mean who can’t use a little more encouragement. We all have our bad days. Your love card can be pulled out on a day when your loved one can use it.
- If a Valentine’s day is extra hard for you one year, journal your thoughts. I’ve experienced the power of letting go of my feelings when I write them out on paper. It’s as if the feelings take on a new home and I can see them from a different perspective. There are free password protected online journals like penzu.com if you’re worried about people finding your entries.
- The past few years I’ve learned the power of getting dressed up when I’m feeling down. This one particular year, I saw a meme that made me feel as if I was going to be single for the rest of my life. It triggered a flood of tears I didn’t see coming. All I wanted to do was feel sorry for myself for the rest of the day. Two hours later, I channeled the energy I was feeling to force myself to get ready for a party I was invited to later that day. I pulled up a youtube makeup tutorial and wore a dress that was sitting in my closet begging to be worn. When I looked in the mirror, my outer appearance no longer matched what I felt like and it shifted my energy. As an introvert, parties stress me out which is why I usually stay on the backend. That night I gave myself the goal to have a good time no matter what. Being committed to that goal truly helped shift my perspective. By the very end of the event, a really cute guy playfully asked me out on a date. Turns out my way of being that night made an impression when I would have normally been closed off and guarded. While we didn’t make it past the first date, I often think about that day when I’m feeling down. It was pretty magical getting to see what was possible for me even when my feelings were trying to work hard against me. So wear that outfit you’re saving for “one day” and wear it for yourself. You’ll feel like a million bucks and who knows, it might shift the trajectory of your day.
- Give yourself a sensory experience to get your out of your head and enjoy the present moment. I love food. In fact there is this one veggie burger I get when I’m feeling bad. It’s so unique in its flavor profile that I find myself lost in the symphony of flavors. It’s hard for me to feel sad when my tastebuds are having a party. Treat yourself to that one place you’ve been dying to go. You’re worth it! Bonus points if you’re wearing that killer outfit you’ve been dying to wear.
With Valentine’s day It’s easy to believe the grass is greener on the other side. I’ve come to the conclusion that I take myself where ever I go so I might as well start working on building characteristics that can help me be a better partner one day. A little self love will go a long way my friends. Remember that this is just one day out of the year. You have the power to choose to make the most out of it even when your feelings are rallying against you. Sending virtual hugs my friends. You got this!”
Jennifer Sosa & Flo Team