Valentine’s Day is one of the WORST holidays. For all of you reading this right now, who are yelling at your computer screens that I’m cold and heartless, just give me a moment of your time, and I’ll explain my logic. I’m as much of a romantic as the next person, but as a therapist, I’ve seen lots of depression and anxiety centered around this holiday; whether it’s because people are lonely and Valentine’s Day serves as a constant reminder that other folks out there have someone while they do not, or because a partner is worried about if the gift they’re intending to give is “good enough” or they’re stressed about how they’re going to be able to top last year’s gift. Valentine’s Day can cause a lot of emotional angst. Here’s where I’m going to tell you why you don’t have to let Valentine’s Day ruin your day.
- The origins of Valentine’s Day itself is kind of dark. There’s one theory that a festival was held where folks lined up to get beat by other people because it made them more fertile. There’s another theory that marriages were banned because single men made better soldiers than married men, so a priest came along and married folks in secret. He was caught and then executed, but not before falling in love first with the jailer’s daughter. Either way you look at it, The origin of Valentine’s Day is full of dysfunction disguised as romance.
- For those that are single on Valentine’s Day. Recognize that Valentine’s Day will come and pass, and that you have the opportunity if you so choose to pursue love any day of the year, and it doesn’t have to be on Valentine’s Day. You can use the time to reflect on yourself, your previous relationships, and about what you do and do not want in future relationships, but most importantly you have to learn how to love yourself, before you can get into a healthy relationship. Don’t worry about finding that other half that completes you, because really that’s just co-dependency talking. A healthy relationship looks like folks who can have separate interests and hobbies a part from one another, but at the end of the day can still come together and share in mutual interests.
- For those that are in a committed relationship—the commercialization of the holiday makes us “buy” into the idea that the only way we can show love is through buying gifts for one another. (Do you see the pun I did there?) This is a really shallow and superficial way of viewing the romance in relationships. Romance, love, and connection go so much deeper. In reality, if you are in a committed relationship, you should try to show the love that you would on Valentine’s Day every day. I also add that the thoughtfulness behind any gifts or actions that happen on Valentine’s Day or any other day, is the more important piece in a relationship. Your thoughtfulness shows that you think about the other person even when they’re not around, and that they’re an important person to you. The more you listen to your partner’s desires and show interests in those desires, the more they will fall in love with you. It’s not about how big of a box of chocolates that you get or how many roses you give them, it’s about being attuned and knowing them well enough to know what their likes and dislikes are.
- The real holiday is actually the day after Valentine’s Day, because all the stores discount the chocolates! Who’s with me on this?
So if you find yourself stressing or being depressed about the holiday, focus on making a commitment to yourself to love yourself a little more, and treat each other day of the year like you would Valentine’s Day by getting creative and learning different ways of showing your commitment to your partner, or better yet, having a conversation with them about what romance really looks like.