We’re approaching another holiday – Valentine’s Day. This one can be loaded with lots of stress. If Valentine’s Day has typically been a day of disappointment for you, read on. Here are six tips for how to handle the Valentine’s Day pressure.
Appreciate Where You Are
The circle of life applies to all things. There are seasons of being single, coupled, married, separeted, divorced, widowed, and all sorts of other things in between. All have value. All are opportunities for you to grow, love, or withdraw. There are things you can learn more easily when you are alone. Some things can only be experienced with someone else.
Wherever you are in your cycle, appreciate it. Being in a relationship is not “better” than being single. Being single isn’t better either. They are just different. You will always get more out of life when you are fully present right where you are. Enjoy it. As long as you don’t resist where you are, the season will change anyway. Nothing stays the same.
Do It Your Way
The idea that women get flowers, candy, dinner, and jewelry on Valentine’s Day comes from advertisers! You don’t have to do any of that! Why let someone else tell you how or when to show love? Be true to yourself. Traditions and rituals are important, but if you and your partner don’t value them, don’t observe them. Maybe you want to observe it in a different way. Honor that! If you feel more connected ice skating, do that! If you’re a guy or gal who loves to show love through cooking, plan a home cooked meal.
Giving gifts is only one love language. There are four more! When you give love in the way that your partner receives it, you make a lot more solid connection. This is far better than doing something you don’t want to do for someone who wants something different anyway.
Take the Initiative
If you are sitting back waiting for love to come to you, stop! Take the initiative. Start with your heart. When you feel and give love, it will increase in your own life. If you withhold it, judge it, and put conditions on it, it will be scarce. Give love freely. Give someone a smile. Not with the expectation that they will smile back. Just give it without any thought to how it lands. Give a compliment. Share a laugh. All those things are loving. Leave a trail of love wherever you go and you will never feel its lack.
Start with your eyes. There is something lovely in every moment. When you focus on the things that are out of balance, not desirable, or the not way you want them to be, you miss the loveliness. Zoom out. See the big picture. There is love in every scene if you have the eyes to see it. When you see it, you can share it with others.
When your heart and eyes have changed, you won’t have to wait for love to come to you. You will know that it’s always been within you. When you know that, others will see it in you as well. We’re all attracted to love like moths to flames. There can be no shortage of love when you’re overflowing with it.
Focus on the Love You Do Have
I am not sure why our culture idealizes romantic love. Love of family and friends is also quite wonderful. So is the connection people have with animals or nature. If you don’t have a romantic partner in your life, let Valentine’s Day be about the love you do have. When we separate love from sex, both become far more meaningful and precious.
If you are not in a romantic relationship, you could also choose to focus on self love. Why wait for someone else to be good to you when you can spoil yourself for a day? Need ideas? How about treating yourself to a pedicure? Take time out for a bubble bath. Get your hair done. Buy a new outfit that makes you feel amazing. Spend the day relaxing, listening to music, or reading a book. Sleep in. Light some candles. Laugh with your friends. Be your own Valentine.
Decide What It Means for You
Disappointment always comes from unmet expectations. If you let advertisers and romance novels tell you what to expect, you create a recipe for disaster because you can’t control that outcome. Forget about other people’s ideas. Take control over your success by creating your own definitions. If Valentine’s Day means that someone creates a spectacle to show the world how much you are loved, that could be a tall order. If it’s about how much love you give, well, you’re always in control of that, aren’t you? That’s all it takes to make it a successful, fulfilling day.
Remove the Price Tag from Love
One of the greatest causes of Valentine’s stress for the giver is money. When love comes with a price tag, it can be hard to love because overspending can create resentment and hardship. Money can also create stress for the receiver if the receiver feels that the amount spent equals the amount loved.
Why not make it easy by removing the price tag from love? Write a love letter. When is the last time you received a love letter? People just don’t write anything anymore. Can you imagine receiving such a priceless gift? This is a fantastic idea for someone who really needs to hear words of love.
Or what about cooking breakfast, detailing the car, or cleaning the garage? For people who value acts of service, this says love far better than a box of chocolates. A foot rub could be just the thing for someone who receives love through touch. Your undivided attention is another great gift idea for someone who likes the feeling of being connected. If your sweetie loves gifts, you could make someone with your own hands. You don’t have to be particularly crafty or artistic to come up with something wonderful. (Trust me, I know!)
Bottom line, what I am saying is why not make Valentine’s Day a day of love? Where there is love, there is no judgment, no expectation, and no disappointment. Love doesn’t care about whether or not someone deserves love. It doesn’t have a price tag. It is present when things aren’t perfect. You don’t have to do much to create it because it’s already inside you. You just have to let it shine through.