Psych Advice: How to Survive Another Valentine’s Day

A simple guide on how to survive Valentine’s day

Valentine’s Day: to some, it’s a day of celebration, and to others, it’s a reminder of past heartache. Whether you’re in a relationship or you’re single, Valentine’s Day can be stressful.

If you are one of those people who doesn’t like Valentine’s Day, don’t worry, you are not alone! A survey has shown that approximately 40 percent of people have negative feelings about Valentine’s Day. On the other hand, there are also plenty of people who enjoy Valentine’s day. So to help manage expectations of those who are in a committed relationship, those who are single, and help everyone move beyond any negative feelings and enjoy it, the most important thing to do is to put things into perspective.

Ask yourself what the holiday means to you. Since we were little kids, advertisers have been shaping our concept of Valentine’s Day. All our lives, we’ve been shown images of cupids, fancy dinners, sunsets and diamonds. All these images have engrained and created an expectation of what should be. This has worked great for marketers; Valentine’s Day generates 14 billion dollars in retail each year.

Now with a little more insight into the commercial side of Valentine’s Day, it’s time to think about what the day really means to you. Figure out what you find important and figure out what Valentine’s Day signifies to you.

If you’re single on Valentine’s Day

Sad because you were single on Valentine’s Day this year? Don’t sweat it! Being single on Valentine’s Day is not a telltale sign you’re doomed to be single for the rest of your life. Instead, look at it through new light. Think of all your friends in committed relationships who are jealous of your freedom. Make a list of all the advantages, and truly enjoy those things, because you never know when the single life might end.

Organize a night out with other single friends. Find a group of friends and go out and do something fun together. Do things you wouldn’t be doing if you were in a relationship; choose a place where you want to go to, stay out late, and who knows? Maybe you’ll meet someone special while you are out and about.

Make the holiday about others. Research has shown that when we do something nice for others, we get a bigger boost in happiness and life satisfaction; then we do something for ourselves. Try giving your colleagues Valentine’s Day cards, each with a sentence about what makes that person special. Or maybe there is an amazing couple in your life: try making their Valentine’s Day better by doing something thoughtful for them.

If you’re in a relationship or married

Remember what Valentine’s Day is not. Valentine’s day is not a test of someone’s love, or an opportunity to check if your partner is a mind reader.

Make your relationship stronger. Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to take stock of the past year and reconnect with your partner. Take some time to reflect on what makes your partner special, and write it out in the Valentine’s Day card you are going to give your significant other. Many people, including myself, believe the most important part is the message and the thought, above the gift itself.

Let the communication flow. No one is a mind reader, if you have reasonable expectations for Valentine’s Day, then tell your partner. Being open about what you want can make things a lot easier. Don’t forget to ask your partner as well. If you accurately communicate with your significant other, you might even find some fun new Valentine’s traditions.

Give a personalized gift from the heart. More than anything, people like to know that we are being listened to, Show your significant other you’ve been paying attention to them get them something they’ve really wanted. Or better yet, plan something out you can do together, experiences and things you together will create memories that will make your relationship all the more special.

At the end of the day, Valentine’s day is just that: a day. Whether you are single or in a relationship, there is always a reason to enjoy the day. Show someone you care, whether it is your best friend, your family or maybe even a stranger, and remember the wise words of Lao Tzu: “Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness is giving creates love.”

Valentine's Day Featured Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons

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