As wonderful as Valentine’s Day can be, it can be just as nerve-wracking or even heartbreaking the difficult reminder of being single, missing an ex or even grieving a loved one, Valentine’s Day often arrives with more than its fair share of baggage. This baggage can often be exacerbated by all the commercialism surrounding Valentine’s Day. The media can be a main stress trigger; constantly reminding us of all Valentine’s Day “should” be with beautifully choreographed commercials, extravagant gifts and romantic comedies filled with fairytale love stories.
There is No Perfect Relationship: To be sure, not everyone has the privilege of buying diamonds, renting out an ice skating rink or enjoying expensive dinners. Even more, the strain of not having that “perfect” Valentine’s dinner or gift can be compounded by what is presented on social media. Seeing friends, family or even celebrities posting their photo shopped and filtered photos can lead to feelings of jealousy, sadness, loneliness and feeling less-than. How quickly we can often forget what really matters. Regardless of relationship status, finances or other limitations, it is important to reflect and celebrate in a way that has a deeper meaning beyond just the surface.
Don’t Compare to Other People: Truly, the best gift is a happy, healthy, and fulfilling relationship. Relationships shouldn’t be compared to what someone else has or is doing and instead should be appreciated for all that they are. When we feel the urge to compare ourselves to others, one way to address that feeling is to remind ourselves that we never really know what is going on behind closed doors. What appears beautiful and perfect from the outside may only be a facade that hides turmoil and deep pain.
Couples Tips: When it comes to celebrating Valentine’s Day, perspective is everything. Rather than focusing on the monetary amount, do something that flows naturally from the heart. Plan a special day outside or a special night at home. Cook a nice dinner together, decorate the house with flower petals, turn the lights off, burn some candles and just enjoy each other’s company.
Singles Tips: If you’re spending Valentine’s Day single, embrace it. Treat yourself. Turn off the romantic comedies, stay off social media and choose to make the most of it. Get up, go out and take a stroll enjoying nature while listening to your favorite music. Cook yourself your favorite dinner and dessert. Turn Valentine’s Day into a day of gratitude by telling all your loved ones how much you love and appreciate them. You can even host a singles party if you have single friends or have a Valentine’s Day celebration with a single friend.
Most importantly, remember that the essence of Valentine’s Day is love and appreciation. It doesn’t need to be just one day out of the whole year. We should practice self-love every day and allow that love to overflow and reach others. There’s no need to make a huge spectacle in order to let our loved ones know we care about them. Just being there for one another, listening to one another and being engaged goes a long way. We all want to feel heard, seen and loved. It is our gift to treat others the way we want to be treated, and that’s with love and care. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours.
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Author: Jesse Ewing, is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern with Total Life Counseling Center. Total Life Counseling Center specializes in child teen self esteem, marriage and family therapy. Our experts are interviewed often by the TV News for their expertise and can be reached at (407) 248-0030
Co-Author: Christopher Charles Williams, UCF Undergraduate Intern with Total Life Counseling Center.