It's a day focussed on love, but can the pressure – whether single or coupled-up – mean it’s a holiday we resent? Life coach and author Jennifer Boon has advice on how to bring back the authentic love
Valentine’s Day is meant to be all about love, but in reality, it is often a day filled will disappointment and doubt, and can potentially be emotionally harmful.
For single people, Valentine’s Day can be dreaded; the feeling that you are the only person in the world who doesn’t have someone to shower you with roses and other commercial tokens of love. You can feel the odd one out, and it can highlight your single status even more. It’s a day to avoid restaurants filled with seemingly happily couples, but look closer…
Often couples don’t look forward to this day either; this one day can make us question our relationship – has our partner been suitably romantic? It makes us feel bad or unloved if we aren’t showered with romantic gestures on this particular day. Then there are the meals out sitting in restaurants, looking around at the other couples sat in silence, all waiting for the same overcharged set menu.
I often hear couples voicing similar dread – perhaps their partner forgot to buy them a present or acknowledge Valentine’s Day, or perhaps no date or celebration was planned at all. There is often disappointment for all.
Valentine’s Day needs to be authentic again. It's about love, and love doesn’t need expectations, or gifts, or meals out – and it is certainly not just limited to people in relationships. Here are some ways to make your Valentine’s authentic, whether you are in a relationship or not.
Know your language of love, and focus on the love.
If you are in a relationship, what do you love about your partner? Over the past year, what gestures have shown you their love? What gestures of love can you do for your partner? Knowing your language of love (and your partner’s) can help make your loving gestures truly meaningful and special. Perhaps having the dishwasher emptied or putting the rubbish out would mean more than a bunch of flowers – know what means a lot for you and your partner and start making this time unique for you, rather than following the crowds.
Languages of love aren’t just for couples either. Knowing your language of love when you are single means that you can create a day of love just for you – treating yourself and pampering you. The relationship we have with ourselves and how much we love ourselves in and out of relationships paves the way for the type of love we attract in the future. Book yourself in for a massage, or spend the evening watching your favourite movies, or reading your favourite book with your favourite meal; the things we do to make ourselves feel special all add up to increase our sense of self-worth.
Be kind to you.
We often feel pressure in and out of relationships on these days in the year, so what can be an act of self-kindness for you this Valentine’s Day? Perhaps it’s not comparing yourself to others?
Whether in a relationship or not, how you approach Valentine’s Day can make the day feel good, or a day to dread. Perhaps it is a day to not look at the media as we are all set with a button to compare ourselves to others, which often makes us feel worse not better.
Get back to basics.
If you are in a relationship, focus on the love you feel for your partner and how you can nurture and cultivate that not just on this one day, but throughout the year. If you aren’t in a relationship, look at how you can focus on the love for you, and more widely for the love you feel in your life.
Whether we are in relationships or not, we are surrounded by different forms of love to be celebrated, and not just in ways society or the media deem appropriate. It is unique for each and every one of us.
How can you make your Valentines authentically about love this year?