Have you ever wondered how to bring love back to Valentine’s Day?
When I was a kid, I loved Valentine’s Day – the whimsical colours, the chalky-message candy hearts, the box filled with silly cards from all my classmates… but as an adult, I began to buy into Valentine’s Day pressure. Was I getting the right, most thoughtful gift from my sweetie? Did he have something special planned for dinner or flowers?
I really agonized about these things and they become expectations that lead to what expectations always lead to: disappointment. Every year therapists, psychics and astrologers hear from people who are on the brink of desolation because they are still pining for someone who left their life, or because they feel alone and unloved, or because their loved one isn’t meeting their expectations.
How did something that’s supposed to be fun get so dark? Ever since a certain famous card manufacturer started mass producing Valentine cards in 1913 in Kansas City, the world has had an arbitrary way to measure the presence and absence of love. And because comparison takes us away from what we HAVE, it’s given us a way to compare our lives to a story of what should be. The right ring, the right dinner, the right romantic setting, the right person. All that pressure adds up to disappointing bad dates, lonely nights, and worse. How do we stop this madness?
Here are Five Ways to bring LOVE back to Valentine’s day:
1) Make the Day about the LOVE
Why not make Valentine’s Day a day to celebrate love itself? Love is not desire, pain, anxiety, or frustration… those things are about FEAR. Love is not just about romance and sex… it’s about so much more! It’s about the choice to embrace life with (or without) others and to learn about the experience. It’s about having life, it’s about having a sense of being connected to the world and to your heart.
Valentine’s Day is a great day to think about what love we are giving to OTHERS and to ourselves. Can we be patient? Can we be kind and understanding? Can we stand up for our own needs and keep ourselves safe? Can we use words, gestures and actions that show love? Love is not for the guy/girl in your life but also yourself, your mom, your dad, your kids, your family, your best friend, your pals, your colleagues, your neigbours, your world! Make it a day to spread the love!
2) Ditch the Expectations on Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s day can be wonderful as long you don’t become too expectant about what has to happen in order for you to be happy. A lot of those expectations are based on what friends or popular culture tells you anyway. Do you really need a certain kind of present to feel loved? Do you really need to pressure yourself to find (or affirm) THE ONE today? Taking the pressure off this day will make it more romantic, spontaneous and fun no matter what your sweetie has in store for you.
Love and relationship is not in your life to be a demonstration for other people to know how liked or popular you are, it’s not a competition or a race. Don’t worry about what your friends think, focus on the love! Forget how others are seeing you, and your expectations around Valentine’s Day are likely to shift to what is most important.
3) You don’t receive love, you ARE love
Love isn’t something that you get in the form of a card, a box of candy, or person! The real source of love is YOU. You do not become fulfilled by the presence of another person, or by the gift of their approval or validation. That’s why it’s possible to always have that feeling of “it’s never enough” –because without loving ourselves or feeling our own fulfilled, loving hearts, no matter what anyone else does we always feel insecure and unworthy and it’s really hard to let love in – or out.
The truth is: You’re not waiting for someone to give you love.. you are already the source of love and you can start acting on it! YOU be the source of love on Valentine’s day and every day. Nobody can ever take love away from you. Be your own source of caretaking and love, be loving to others. That way when others show you the gestures of love, you’ll be able to really FEEL it. When other people stop being your source of love and validation, your capacity to love and BE loved expands a thousandfold.
4) Valentine’s Day doesn’t tell you anything about the future
Sometimes when we think of v-day, we think of it as some kind of mystical marker about whether or not we have all the RIGHT things; partner, love, presents…. as if this one specific day holds some kind of special power to tell us how the rest of FOREVER will be. Even the most rational people think things like, If I don’t get the most perfect flower TODAY, my husband doesn’t love me enough. If I don’t have a partner TODAY, I never will. — But that’s not true! Valentine’s day is just another day.
It certainly doesn’t define ANYTHING about your future or what your potential is. There’s plenty of other days to have romantic encounters with your sweetheart, to bring love into your life, to share your heart. Your husband or wife may shower you with affection in other ways and over many other days during the course of time. If you don’t have a partner, it certainly doesn’t mean you never will just because you’re alone on Valentine’s day! Don’t let the day become part of your mental story about the future.
5) Valentine’s Day for single people can be amazing
You have a choice about whether to hold on to those heartbreaks that have always stopped you before, all the old habits, all the old sob stories, or whether you want to transcend them and reclaim joy for yourself! Do you deserve joy, love and fun in your life even if you’re single? YES! Who says Valentine’s Day has to be all about couples? There are millions of people in this world who do not have a partner and there’s nothing “missing” about them. Not a thing. There’s no reason to let societal pressure make you feel like you’re “lesser” or that there’s something wrong with you. If you’re in a partnership, don’t tell your single friends you’re “sorry” that they’re on their own or make a big deal about the day.
Valentine’s Day is a a great time to show yourself love and to celebrate the devotion and commitment you have to yourself and to bringing love into your own life. Bring a friend to one of those “special two-entree” deals and enjoy. Throw a party for your other single friends, or simply make a special date for yourself to do the things you love and buy yourself a bouquet. If you want a partner in your life, celebrating this choice to recommit to love and joy can only help attract them in. And, if you don’t want a partner, you’ll still attract those things that bring you love and joy in their own right.
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