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How To Feel Empowered In Your Singledom On Valentine's Day

Love & Relationships

It is tough to fight the feelings of loneliness as your coworker receives flowers from her soon-to-be husband. You sit there pretending to be excited for her while eating your second chocolate chip cookie of the day. Their engagement photos featuring their small Yorkie are perfectly angled on her desk just for you to roll your eyes every time you walk by.


Lowkey, you want exactly what she has. Happiness is the main theme of her life. It is something you have always wanted, and at times you've felt like a life like hers would bring just that. Happiness.

These anxious feelings often arise during the month of February.

We are women who spend tireless hours trying to please everyone, taking care of everything, and still find ourselves lonely on the day that is dedicated to romance and love. It's easy to feel like you are the only one who hasn't found "the one." In reality, there are countless women who spend Valentine's Day alone, who don't have perfect relationships, and like you, gauge their self worth by the length of their last relationship.

The truth is, this day does not define your self worth.

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I have come a long way from the days of feeling jealous of the next person. I have spent many Valentine's Days alone, and learned so much about who I am and what fuels me. For many years I felt nervous, worried, and anxious about what it meant to spend Valentine's Day alone. Initially, it was painful. It was uncomfortable, and I spent very dark days figuring out how to love myself. Thankfully, over the years, I found the strength I needed to get through Valentine's Day without a single tear or anxious breathe.

By following these four key principles, I began feeling empowered in my single life. Especially on Valentine's Day.

Know Your Worth

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Dig deep within yourself. Find out what you're good at. Find out what you're bad at. Be honest with yourself, and get acquainted with your worth. If you take the one thing you are good at and maximize on it, you will gain all the confidence you need to feel worthy. You will love what you have to offer the world, and begin to feel valuable and priceless.

Invest In Yourself

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Find out what you don't like about yourself and change it. I invested in figuring out who I was through reading, studying other people, and my own relationships. I found out what I didn't like about myself. I identified my triggers, and I told myself to have a seat. Sometimes you have to kick yourself in the butt. It can be painful to point the finger at yourself, but sometimes it is necessary. Take responsibility for the things you do to create chaos in your life. Love yourself enough to say you want to make a change.

Investing in yourself also looks like actively supporting your own goals and desires. I have put every single dollar I earn back into my writing career in order to take it to the next level. My success has allowed me to build my confidence in being single. If you are preoccupied achieving your own goals and being a boss, then you are less likely to have time to feel sorry for yourself. You're already winning.

Stop Looking For Approval

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This is one of the hardest but most important principles of self love. It is difficult to "keep up with the Joneses." You will never win. There will always be a new iPhone, a new Chanel bag, a new Jordan release, etc. How can you keep up? You can't. One important factor in finding love within is to stop looking for praise from others. Instead, start looking for self approval. Evaluate your choices. Are you doing something to reward yourself? Or are your actions based on approval from others? Once we stop looking for approval from others, we can start looking for approval within ourselves. I promise it is so much more satisfying. Keeping up with those Joneses can wear you out!

Find Your Support System

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Find a mentor. No, I don't mean your homegirl that you can just gossip with, I mean someone you trust. Someone that you can tell your deepest fears and your greatest accomplishments to. They should always have good intentions and they should always be unbiased. The way you can determine if someone is a good mentor is if you feel completely comfortable telling them anything. No filter, no shade. We all have questions that we need answers to. Finding a support system can help you sort out some of your inner issues, even if you just need someone to hear you out.

Many times we push ourselves into relationships because we are scared of being alone, but if you aren't comfortable in your own skin, then you need to put a pause on your love life. How can you know what you want out of a relationship if you are not comfortable with yourself?

This Valentine's Day, whether you have a significant other or not, I want you to focus on loving yourself. Put down the cookies, listen to your heart's desires, be good to those around you, put your best foot forward, and do the work for yourself.

Featured image by Getty Images

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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