Reclaim romance and self-love on Valentine’s Day.
You may be surprised to hear that as a love coach I’m a bit of an anarchist when it comes to the commercial circus that is Valentine’s Day.
Approximately 150 million Valentine’s cards are exchanged each year making Valentine’s Day the second most popular paper-pushing holiday after Christmas.
Like sheep, lovers flock to buy cards, chocolates, flowers, and, most preposterously, soft toys. Nothing says I love you like a stuffed bear.
Restaurants can attest to the interesting drama that unfolds when couples feel committed to a day of feigned romance. Of course, this isn’t true for all couples, but there’s something tremendously false about feeling compelled to showcase one’s affection. A restaurateur friend of mine who we’ll call Alan wryly shared his thoughts. He says February 14th is actually the driest day of the year; meaning the couples he sees seem to pay more attention to their phones than they do each other.
This kind of “romance by the numbers” – guilted into feeling obliged by February 14th – is paradoxically and completely unromantic. This explains why I have no problem rebelling on Valentine’s Day. Who wouldn’t prefer to receive a surprise bunch of your favorite flowers from a loved one as a thoughtful gesture, versus knowing your dozen overpriced red roses were purchased (perhaps reluctantly) because it’s February 14th?
As a love coach, the most meaningful expressions of love are often spontaneous and certainly are more genuine professions of love.
Whatever happened to small little love notes? Wouldn’t it be nice to read something written from the heart? Sweet reminders that offer exciting or gentle assurances of love and support are far more interesting and valued. It never hurts to remind each other we need to feel appreciated, desired and loved. Yet, these qualities need to genuinely exist and be shared in honest ways if they are to truly have any real meaning.
In fact, one of the most common issues I see in relationships today is couples who take each other for granted. They become too comfortable, even complacent, allowing for the magic that once ignited that love spark to fade. Giving a bouquet of gratuitous flowers to demonstrate your love cheapens the deeper feelings and commitment you desire in a relationship. Pleasing your partner should be a conscious and consistent practice to keep the “fires burning”.
It’s time to reclaim romance!
Reintroduce those little gestures that make your relationship special. It doesn’t have to cost money but it should take time and thought. The little things mattered when you first started out together. You paid attention to each other and probably remember what you wore on those first dates, the way it felt on that first kiss and the feeling of your heart racing when you held hands.
For example, my husband and I like to surprise each other with little love notes at random times, especially when life gets choppy and the extra support and gratitude help us to know we have someone that shares our ups and downs. A simple “thank you for dinner” or a note that says, “I had the best time with you tonight” reminds me our love is alive and I feel desirable. ”When the words “I love you, you’re the best” at the end of a long day, I appreciate that my partner is thinking about me. I feel loved.
It’s about tuning in to each other’s needs and reinforcing that unique and special bond that already exists. And why not try to expand on it, deepening your affections and appreciation.
Love is not a commodity or something that can be stamped on Valentine’s as a way to ensure it survives for another year.
Let’s step back a little further. Another bugbear of mine is how Valentine’s day perpetuates society’s pressure to be in a relationship. Somehow we fancy the relationship must also be perfect. Each of us knows what it’s like to be single on Valentine’s day.
We also know that relationships aren’t perfect. I recall being at university and sending myself a card on Valentine’s Day, pretending it was from an imaginary, perfect boyfriend.
Yes, it was pathetic, I know. But I was, admittedly, sucked into the Valentine loop. Shop windows crudely decorated with red hearts tortured me. And when I sought consolation at my local supermarket in the sugary solace of delicious gelato, I felt mocked by the aisles of heart-shaped cheeses and celebratory desserts.
The first half of February is lonely only if you allow it to be. In a recent U.S. study, there are more single people than ever. As a consultant, it is certainly healthier to be single than it is to be stuck in a fruitless relationship. And what if this fear of being alone and settling for someone else actually prevents you from finding the right person just waiting to meet you. The increased frustration and unhappiness from an unsatisfying relationship eventually takes a toll on your mental health and overall happiness.
So change your expectations about Valentine’s Day and what it means to be single and to be in a healthy relationship. View your singledom positively and cultivate self-love. It’s okay to embrace you and to celebrate your love with family, friends, and people who matter. You need to love yourself first, and then share your “loving energy” with others.
Appreciating your self-worth is critical to feeling happy and also to believing you have something to offer in any relationship. Being alone with yourself and feeling good is always a great way to reaffirm your self-worth.
Each and every day, invite those who are truly deserving of your love into your wonderful world.