When rewatching My Big Fat Greek Wedding the other day, I was struck by the beginning monologue of the protagonist, Toula Portokalos, when she said: “Nice Greek girls who don’t find a husband, work in the family restaurant. So here I am, day after day, year after year, thirty, and way past my expiration date.” Now I know there are some cultural differences between her and me, but I want to focus on the lack of self-worth single females often share. Toula was 30 in 2002, and I will soon be 30 in less than a week in 2022. A 20-year difference has lessened the pressure of marrying before you are 30: when you become pitied and people set you up with anything that moves, like Ian’s – Toula’s love interest – friend. However, the underlying expectation is still there and tied to self-worth.
The circumstances of being single are not black and white, but it is a reminder you are on your own journey, and it does not determine your worth. In singleness, you can learn who you are on your own, grow in confidence, and serve where you feel most needed. You will create a life filled with love, which is exactly what Toula did.
When you have your worth rooted in romantic love, Valentine’s Day as a single person is difficult. Instead, it can be a reminder you have more time and opportunity to love the people already in your life. You can participate in an annual Galentine’s with other single friends, reach out to your parents and siblings, and take care of yourself by doing whatever you enjoy. Being single on Valentine’s Day highlights how you can show up for others and yourself since your love goes beyond romantic relationships.
Toula may have gotten the man in the end, but even she doubted her worth in the process. She said to her brother, “Any second now he’s gonna look at me and go, ‘Right, you’re so not worth this.’” But her brother said in return, “Yes, you are.” This is true for everyone, but it may sometimes be hard to believe for yourself when you don’t feel worthy. Your worth is not tied to singleness or even other people; instead, know that the love you have to give is worth everything.
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