…we tell ourselves stories about what happens (or doesn’t happen) means …and those stories suck.
Expectations run high, and so does disappointment. The whole idea of Valentine’s Day is that we should feel loving and loved and happy, right? Well, true happiness lies in Loving What Is, as the title of Byron Katie’s book so aptly puts it.
This year, with Valentine’s Day falling on a Saturday, the potential “suck” factor is amplified. Of course, the “wonderfulness” factor could also be amplified, because there’s more time than usual to prepare for and enjoy it. It’s entirely possible that your Valentine’s Day will be great, and I truly hope it is. And there’s a lot you can do to make that happen for yourself and others. But…
Let’s look at where Valentine’s Day can go awry and how to turn that around.
You may angst over what to do for or give your partner that will express your love in a way that they really “get” it, but doesn’t break the bank or set up expectations going forward. Will it be enough, too much? Will one of you feel uncomfortable if it’s imbalanced?
And you may wonder if your partner will remember Valentine’s Day or if you should remind them, subtly or not so subtly.
I suggest you resolve much of this dilemma by discussing it with your partner. You might say, “What shall we do to celebrate our love on Valentine’s Day this Saturday?”
Then you can plan something together. You could even suggest foregoing gifts, and spending the money on something you would both enjoy doing together. (FYI, the film Fifty Shades of Grey is opening this weekend. I hope it’s better than the book, but either way, a matinee could lead to very interesting and titillating dinner conversation with your sweetie.) You might even explore an “adult” toy shop – always a great place for a little inspiration and a few laughs. Laughter is a great aphrodisiac.
If you’re dating someone, sort of, it can get really tricky, depending on how far into the relationship you think you are (it’s not always the same as what the other person thinks).
You don’t want to overdo it, and yet you want to express the level of affection or love you feel without the other person misinterpreting what it all means. And it’s nice to avoid the energy being brought down by one person trying to stuff their disappointment.
Again, acknowledging the holiday challenge can relieve a lot of pressure for both of you (and the other person is likely to be grateful). For example, you could say something like, “I know Valentine’s Day can create a lot of anxiety, especially at this stage in a relationship. Would you like to just plan something fun to do together?”
And if you’re single, it can really suck (but it doesn’t have to).
Sure, everyone (including me) tells you have to love yourself first, which is absolutely what you must do. But such advice doesn’t relieve the common pain of feeling alone on the holiday that makes us think in twos.
Yes, pamper yourself, or you could also share your love and plan something fun with uncoupled friends or family members (a spa day, a hike, a local sporting event, or again, see 50 Shades).
Or prepare a special meal or dessert fest for some single people (including children) you really care about. This is a great way to model to youngsters that love and happiness don’t depend on having a mate.
Now to look at all this little deeper — the Truth is this:
What gives Valentine’s Day such a big potential “suck” factor, making it potentially uncomfortable, even painful, is not what actually happens or doesn’t happen. It’s really the stories we tell ourselves about what it means, before, during, and afterwards.
Here are some examples of the kinds of stories we tell ourselves:
- If my partner really loved me he/she would do or give me something special. (And if it’s not enough, what would I tell my friends, when they inevitably ask what we did for Valentine’s Day?)
- If I don’t do enough or give enough (chocolate, flowers, sex) on Valentine’s Day, my partner will feel unloved. But if I do more for them than they do for me, they’ll feel bad, which is not my goal.
- I’m not lovable, I’m not worthy of love, or I’m not worthy of a great relationship, great sex, etc., etc.
The REMEDY for a “sucky” Valentine’s Day? (or any situation that feels crummy, for that matter):
1. Give love to yourself and others. Acknowledge the people that have loved you in the best way they know or knew how. Forgive any experience where LOVE was out of balance. And most of all, be the source of how you want to feel, that is, be your own VALENTINE
2. Simply let go of the story you tell yourself about what happens or doesn’t. It’s the story we tell ourselves about any situation, that determines how we feel. “Easier said than done,” you may retort.
The greatest gift of love we can give ourselves and others is letting go of our stories about what the events and circumstances of our lives mean. It’s also a key to happiness, including a Happy Valentine’s Day.
Getting to a neutral state and letting go of our stories is also widely understood as a critical element on the path to consciousness and spiritual awakening.
I heard a poem today during a HeartMastery call. It’s called “She Let Go,” generally attributed to Ernest Holmes.
I’ve spent years trying to let go, especially let go of the stories I tell myself. I’m getting better at it, but I have a long way to go (I just got into an old mind-story loop last night, but at least I was aware of it soon thereafter).
“She Let Go” spoke to me deeply, so I recorded a mini audio of it for you, with the hope that it helps you let go of some of your stories around Valentine’s Day, so you can appreciate and have gratitude for all the love and beauty and wonder in life.
Consider this my little gift of love to you. Download it, listen to it, and then go out and create a very Happy Valentine’s Day!