By Jerry Duncan, M Div, LMFT and Jill Early, M Ed, LPC-Intern
When the 14th starts looming over the mid-February horizon, MANY people who are not in the mythical, perfectly loving, and romantic relationship start thinking something like: “Oh no, another Valentine’s Day SEASON! It’s like Christmas… they start advertising at Halloween about the perfect gifts and how wonderful the SEASON is going to be. I’ll be glad when it’s over!”
This group of people often feel the pain and/or sadness of not being in a “special” relationship for any of the reasons that are a real part of life… breakup, divorce, death, thinking they are unlovable or unwanted, etc. Like most people, they have accepted the myth as truth that it SHOULD be a super special day. However, day 45 of the calendar year is just like days 44 and 46, in terms of relationship.
There are at least three things on which to focus that have the potential for being helpful if Valentine’s day creates these kinds of feelings.
- Honestly evaluate what our role might be in not being in one of the so-called SPECIAL relationships, learn from that evaluation, and make a plan for how to change ourselves in the next 364 days so that we can experience what we might prefer.
- Accept and rejoice that we are not faced daily with the challenge and effort required to create and maintain a healthy relationship that might slightly resemble the mythical one which is the focus of Valentine’s Day.
- Focus on the other significant relationships we have and challenge ourselves to give THEM the experience of knowing how they are important, loved, adored, valued, and cherished by at least one person, us. How wonderful it might feel to anticipate the day knowing that we were going to offer those SPECIAL feelings for someone else to fully experience and enjoy. How wonderful it might feel to go to bed (yes, alone) that night with the feeling it would give us knowing what we had done for someone else that day. Focusing outward on what we can extend to others can be even more rewarding than focusing on what we lack.