The day after Christmas, every store began putting up red and pink displays for Valentine’s Day. Two and a half months early!
On the surface, how wonderful to have a holiday dedicated to everything about love. In reality, though, many people have expressed to me their extreme dislike of this holiday. I’ve condensed it down into 5 reasons why Valentine’s Day can suck for some of us, and what you can do about it.
1) If you are single, it can feel like February 14 is all about couples. Jewelry commercials, romantic dinners out, proposals – couples, couples, couples. And you are never more aware that you are NOT IN ONE. Even if you are happily single, Valentine’s Day can make you wonder how you can really be all that happy.
2) Married or committed couples don’t have it any better. There is so much pressure to live up to expectations around this one day. It can make you feel like if you don’t go to extravagant lengths to prove yourself with candy, flowers, and jewelry, you don’t really love your partner.
3) People on a budget. Maybe one of the reasons they start advertising for Valentine’s Day so early is so that we can save up for something expensive?
4) Your family and friends can add to the tension around Valentine’s Day. “What did Bobby get you? Did he propose yet??” If you celebrated quietly, or God forbid, you were on your own for Valentine’s Day, you may get looks of sympathy or condolences.
5) Got kids? Chances are that, at least for a while, romantic candlelit dinners for two – all alone, no time constraints, no one yelling “Mommy!” – are hard to come by. You can make all the reservations you want, but if little Maggie has a fever, you’re not going. Life is like that if you have kids at home, and as a mom, most of us wouldn’t have it any other way. But we can feel out of touch with our partner as a couple, and days like Valentine’s Day may remind you that your last dinner out was at Chuck E. Cheese.
So what can you do to make February 14 a better day, or at least not have it set up for failure? Lots of things.
First, it’s just a date on the calendar. Hallmark doesn’t get to decide when you have love and romance in your life – you do. If you are in a relationship, don’t wait all year for a day to celebrate love. Make it a point to spend quality couple time together every chance you get, in a way that meets your schedules and budgets. A small surprise for no reason at all can mean so much more than even a pricey gift on a holiday devoted to pricey gift-giving!
If you are single, what does love mean to you? Love is not only about couples – the love we have for friends, family, and for ourselves is worthy of celebrating. Even though it can feel like it, you are not the only single person on the planet on Valentine’s Day. If you feel like being social, make some plans with friends. If you’d rather have a low key evening, rent a movie, read a good book, exercise, or anything that feels good to you.
Bottom line – February 14 is just a day. Whatever your circumstances, take away expectations and just enjoy yourself in any way you feel like it. That is truly a gift of love, no strings attached.
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