Are you cringing with dread about the deliveries of red roses that will come to the office to what seems like everyone but you? Are you hoping to sleep Valentine’s Day away and avoid all the celebrations of romance that will be everywhere you turn? With hearts everywhere you turn, avoiding reminders is impossible.
Maybe you’ve gone through a break up or divorce or maybe you distain the commercialism of the day. Perhaps you’re in an awkward stage of a relationship and knowing what to do for someone is confusing. If you are one of the many who wish you could skip the day for whatever reason, then remember there’s only four things you can do in any situation: Solve the problem, change your perception, radically accept the situation, or stay miserable/make it worse.
There are many ways, in my mind of making it worse. Staying with someone just so you won’t be alone or pretending to be in love when you are not would fit that category. Playing “your song” over and over and ruminating over past happy times with someone who is no longer with you would count. Repeatedly calling an ex will result in shame, guilt or embarrassment. Drinking or eating or drugging yourself so you stop thinking may help in the moment but don’t help you at all in the long run. At the same time gritting your teeth and saying you’ll get through seems pretty brutal.
I suggest you cope ahead, have a plan. Consider changing your perception of the day. After all Valentine’s Day was not always about romantic love and you don’t have to accept that limited view now. There are many different types of love you could celebrate. Be flexible and make the day fit you and your personality. What view of Valentine’s Day represents your values?
Here’s a few ideas that may or not fit you. The main idea is to create what is right for you and only you can know what that is.
1. Celebrate what you love. If you love animals, make the day about them. Maybe you’ll volunteer to walk dogs or clean cages at a shelter. Maybe you’ll take food to them. If you love exercise, then make it a special day of climbing, jumping, rowing, cycling or whatever you prefer that enhances your heart health. You get the idea. Make whatever you do out of the ordinary. If you usually run a mile, then maybe you could run a mile in a beautiful area. Maybe run with friends too.
2. Make it a day of giving. Think of ways you can contribute to others and show a love of your fellow man. Make several donations during the day to make it special to you as well as those who benefit. Donating clothes, books, time, and acts of kindness are possibilities. In this way you can celebrate agape, one meaning of which is generosity and love of humanity.
3. Practice Self Love. The Greek word for self-love is philautia. Narcissism is one type of self-love but there is also a healthy self-love, being secure in who you are and liking yourself, which enhances the love you can give to others. Many emotionally sensitive people struggle with self-love. Perhaps Valentine’s Day could be a day of taking care of yourself and being self-compassionate. What is it you need in your life right now that you can give to yourself?
4. Cherish friendships. There are many types of love. Having loving friends adds happiness and health to your life. Even if your close friends are in romantic relationships, they probably are not busy all day or all weekend. Make plans to get together to honor love of friends.
5. Play. Play can be rejuvenating. Find ways you can play through dancing, exploring a new area of town, spending time with children (they are experts), engaging in board games, going to putt putt or driving bumper cars are possibilities. Playful love or ludus is a way of experiencing joy.
6. Value longstanding love or pragma. Sometimes couples who have been together for many years just ignore Valentine’s Day. For some, candy, flowers and cards just aren’t important or even desired. If you have a long term relationship, maybe Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate the strength of years of being together. Staying in love is different from falling in love. You know what would be special to you and your partner. Take the opportunity to pay attention to what you have built together.
These are just a few thoughts for making the day special to you and defining it in ways that fit your values. What ideas do you have?
Note: The Emotionally Sensitive Person Podcast is now available on iTunes.