V-day can feel like D-Day.
The day is, in my opinion, slightly ridiculous. But probably not for the reasons you think. I have no problem with the cheesy commercialized crap. I like cinnamon hearts and I even miss making those old-school valentines out of construction papers and doilies.
The ridiculousness is my expectations. When I’m single, I beat myself up for not being with someone. And when I’m with someone, I hold him to impossibly high standards. Is it too much to ask that my boyfriend give me a puppy with an engagement ring around his collar all while singing a song that he’s written especially for me?!
Yup, my boyfriend is screwed.
It’s not like I actually want another dog. I’m certainly not ready to get engaged. And I’m betting that he’s tone-deaf (based on the fact that I’ve never heard him sing).
So if I’m not actually interested in any of those things, why do I want them so much? Where are these crazy expectations coming from?
I WANT THE FEELING I THINK THEY WILL GIVE ME.
So this Vday, I am going to give those feelings to myself, no ring needed. But before I jump into my action plan, I’m going to digress for a minute. About a year ago, I wrote a post dispelling the all-too-common belief that self-love is selfish. Not surprisingly, this belief is perpetuated with dated (and crappy) definitions:
the instinct by which one’s actions are directed to the promotion of one’s own welfare or well-being, especially an excessive regard for one’s own advantage.
It’s no wonder we have such a hard time choosing to love ourselves before we love others. On a very deep level, we’ve been conditioned to believe that we don’t deserve it, that it’s wrong, or that it’s selfish to care for ourselves.
And that’s largely why I expect someone else to give me the love I could be giving to myself.
Whether you’re single or hitched, self-love is your primary relationship and the cornerstone of every healthy relationship to come.
SO HERE’S MY SELF-LOVE, I-DON’T-NEED-A-RING, I-CAN-BUY-MY-OWN-DAMN-FLOWERS PLAN:
Schedule in time for something indulgent. FYI, indulgent doesn’t mean expensive. For me, a bath with candles, reading Harry Potter, or going for a long walk without the dog feels amazing. It’s so easy to fill our time with our to-do list and never get around to things that bring us joy. When fun becomes an afterthought, it doesn’t happen. Schedule it and savor it without the guilt.
Try something new. Sometimes it’s easier to connect to ourselves when we’re out of our comfort zone. When we're trying something new, we have no choice but to tune in and rely on ourselves on a whole new level. Whether it’s trying a new dance class or exploring a new part of town, getting outside of your comfort zone will help you to get outside of your head. It’s hard to stress about something when you’re focused on balancing in a new yoga pose. Connect and learn about yourself by getting in a new classroom (even if that classroom teaches you how to make doughnuts!)
Make self-care a non-negotiable. During stressful transitions, self-care is usually the first thing to go. To make it happen, add in a layer of accountability. Make a chart and check off:
It seems so obvious, but that simple tool helps to strengthen your self-love muscle until it’s second nature.
So, here’s my Valentine’s Day wish for you:
May you not get what you think you want. Instead, may you give yourself what you truly need.