Valentine’s Day

Maybe for you, Valentine’s Day is no big deal. But I’ve noticed with clients, that Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays where a lot of *shoulds* flood in to our brain, affecting our mood and behavior. This one is sneaky, because this particular marketing effect is so successful in how it zeros right in on the hurts and longings we’re already carrying around. For example,

  • If you’re in a relationship – it can be expectationitis. Inflammation of (the usually unstated) expectations. Covert expectations pretty much always result in disappointment.
  • If you’re in an undefined dating situation – it’s pressure. What to do/how to handle and mark the holiday. Also, how to be cautious and avoid over-interpretation of signals.
  • If you’re currently single – it can be the loneliness and longing factor. All the love-related advertising, for heaven’s sake, how can you help but compare yourself to the situations of others?

When February rolls around, rather than get swept away in what’s essentially a corporate created holiday to pump up sales of cards, flowers and treats, allow me to point you to an opportunity to do a relationship tune-up.  Caring for our most treasured relationships, whether it’s with our self, our family or friends, takes work. Likely, we have the best of intentions and mean to be better connected, yet so often the pace of our busy lives can bump this priority way down the list. February is a good opportunity to tune in.

Some things to ask yourself:

  • How is my communication going with my beloved? Does it need attention? Are we truly understanding each other or are we making assumptions? This can make a huge difference in whether or not there is an undercurrent of tension running between you.
  • How can I relax and go with the flow? For the undefined daters out there, you’ll have to listen to your gut on whether it’s time to have a clarity conversation. Another thing you can do is to relax into not knowing where things are headed. Ask yourself: “How can I tune in to ME and get grounded, so I can tune out the noise of the holiday “shoulds” and enjoy my life exactly as it is right now?”
  • Am I making time to connect with the meaningful people in my life? The busy factor, often used as a badge of honor, can isolate us pretty dramatically. If you’re single and feeling lonely, time to get connected. Make some phone calls (not texts), and take time to catch up with people either near or far away.

Listen, sometimes our life just isn’t the way we want it to be. We’re doing all we can to change that, but no dice. A certain holiday rolls around to underscore dissatisfaction in our current situation, it’s lousy, and we just want to be grumpy and hang in the Bitter Barn for a minute. I completely get that, and if that’s a choice you want to make – do it. What I think is important is to make a choice. Plan ahead. Consider opportunities to hone communication and connection on your terms. Don’t wait to get swept up into a corporate marketing blitz that’s likely not aligned with your priorities.

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