Reimagining a Happier Valentine’s Day
I admit it: I am among the legions of people who don’t enjoy Valentine’s Day.
I used to call radio stations and request J. Geil’s “Love Stinks.” I’d avoid any store that was inundated with red when I entered. When I wasn’t in a relationship, it was a reminder I didn’t want – and when I was in a relationship, most of the time the day didn’t live up to my expectations.
A poll of my friends showed that I’m not alone in my dread of this holiday. Many people have more bad memories of the day than good ones. As a romantic, I think anything that forces the issue is bound to fail. On top of that, too many people are under the mistaken impression that being romantic on one day gives them a free pass for the rest of the year. On the contrary – romance and love should be celebrated and enjoyed year round.
So I wondered: what if we made February 14 less about who loves us, and more about those we love and appreciate? Our family and friends, assistants, service people, even our pets. And then there is the person who should be on the top of the list for spoiling and pampering – you! We all tend to put others before ourselves a good portion of the time, so what if we made this holiday about us? We deserve at least one day each year to take the time to remind ourselves how wonderful, unique and lucky we are.
Quick: can you name five things you love to do for yourself? If not, then you could definitely do with a personal Valentine’s Day treat or two. Those things on the “meaning to do for myself” list need to become a priority, if only for a day.
Start with some simple things.
When was the last time you watched your favorite movie? Really watched it – lights off, popcorn popped, and tissue box at the ready if necessary. How about taking a break from doing things on the go? Drink your coffee from a mug, sitting down and truly enjoying the flavor. Eat something you adore, and don’t think about the calories or ingredients. Do you love seeing fresh flowers when you wake up? Then find a beautiful vase and promise yourself a regular bouquet.
Want to spend a little money on yourself?
Why not – you deserve it. We’re not talking about a spree, just a touch of luxury. Have you ever bought the hardcover edition of a book you were aching to read, rather than waiting for the paperback or digital edition? You should enjoy the indulgence of having it now. Appreciate the weight of it with every turn of the page. How about buying a small luxury item? Women can indulge their champagne tastes with a lipstick from Chanel, men with an expensive cigar or a high-end sleeve of golf balls. Every time you use it, remember you are worthy of it.
Now, can you think of the last time you did something special for someone you care about…without having any particular reason?
No? Then they deserve a Valentine’s treat as well. Send a card – a real one, stamp and all, nothing electronic – and write a note inside. Leave a message on their voice mail. Not a quick one. One in which you take the time to tell them why you care, why you are thinking of them. I’ll bet they’ll save it for months. Clean out your spouse’s car. Bring someone coffee.
You’ll feel wonderful by doing something simple, especially for yourself. The truth is that it’s unfair to expect others to treat us well – or romantically – if we’re not willing to do it for ourselves. What a great trend we can start if we make this challenging holiday about selfless offers of warmth and connection.
After all, how great will it be the next time someone asks what you are doing for Valentine’s Day and you can say, “I already have plans, but you can join me if you’d like.”