Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What to Do When Valentine's Day Isn't So Sweet

Few Holidays seem to arouse as much emotion, as Valentine’s Day. For many, this very day can be downright depressing and dreadful. You have every right to send Cupid packing and find a way to actively cope. This does not mean that you have to ignore the Holiday, but rather not allow yourself to get caught-up in over-idealized romantic expectations that lead to disappointment and distress.

Here are Tips to Help:

Send the overvalued idea of Cupid packing.
Fire an arrow right through his cherub buttocks, if you have to. Consider how much this “loving” Holiday is based on little more than narcissistic commercialism and obligation that often leads even the most romantic toward disappointment. Go by any florist and you will see how much this Holiday costs. Notice too, that you will see mostly anxious men scampering in the shops. Isn’t that curious?

If you are single, whether you want to be or not, keep in mind that you are far from alone.
Don’t allow yourself to sit on a pity-pot and be caught off-guard this V-Day. Plan a social engagement (sorry) that involves people who simply care about you. Celebrate your whole life, not just because you have that one person to treasure, or who treasures you. Your life can be full, whether you are (or have) that “special” person or not.

Reach out to friends and family and avoid all of the V-Day hype.
For some, this means staying away from public areas, such as restaurants where there can be an over-abundance of partners lollygagging and portraying that perfect relationship. If you go out, take friends or family and celebrate life and independence. Avoid an indulgence that is guilt-prone, and be mindful to avoid excess of spirits or food. Sloth from overindulgence is Cupid’s breeding ground for guilt.

Don’t focus on thoughts of romantic loss, failures or idealism. Reframe, Refocus and Redeux this V-Day.
This is the holiday that can be loaded with self-punishment and guilt, so be cautious NOT to fuel the fire! Plan ahead; it’s OK to keep V-Day very low-key. Many feel an escalating obligation each year when it comes to V-Day. Break this dizzying cycle, and put Cupid in his rightful place. Don’t turn V-Day into Disaster-Day! Keep your expectations clear and avoid the merry-go-round of escalating expectations that creates nausea!

If you are partnered, do something out of the norm.
Haven’t we all seen enough of red roses and chocolate truffles? Do any of us really “need” any more chocolate candy? Hasn’t it all been said in a card before? This could be your year to do something novel, lively and even carefully daring. Real love is an action, not an obligatory habit at the end of flower stem, in a box of candy, or in a piece of jewelry.

If you, or someone you know has recently lost a partner for whatever reason, be sensitive to how this V-Day can impact them.
Do something helpful or meaningful for someone who might be feeling a recent loss. Your sensitivity and pro-action can be an experience that will not wilt, melt, add pounds or disappoint.

For the interestered, here are some Valentine's day statistics: http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/003147.html

Comments Always Welcome!


mkr said...

Interesting tips.

It seems to me that this holiday, with its high expectations,
has the possibility to disappoint many people.

A better approach to this day might be to not “place all one’s expectations
solely on this single day” but to consider a daily, loving attitude toward those
people in our lives we love and care about.

Wouldn’t it be great if expressions of ongoing kindness and loving attitudes toward the
significant others in our lives would evolve to a daily commitment as opposed to singling out one day; Valentine's day?

I suggest that IF this type of ongoing, loving consideration toward others
we care about is given more consistently, we all might have more positive and fulfilling
interpersonal relationships.

Isolation of such loving acts on Valentine’s day adds stress, disappointment, sadness, and perhaps this day does appear to have been created to sell cards and candy.

Only a thought. What do you think?

BTK said...

For more V-Days than I care to count, I have been without a significant other. One of those years the Fed-Ex guy came by and left me a box of red & white carnations...I could not imagine who they were from...secret admirerer?? To my surprise they were from my niece. I will never forget that gesture of kindness. I have to agree with Dr. Banken, (although I think shooting cupid in the buttocks is a bit harsh)...not just V-day, any day is a good day to demonstrate love to those we care about.

Joseph A. Banken, MA, PhD said...

Thanks for the feedback.

I hope the tips will help, and hope that we hear some other tips and experiences from readers as well.

I am thinking that since few people have responded to the original post, cupid needs the arrow for sure (smile). V-Day is just too over-rated!

Anonymous said...

My family doesn't celebrate Valentines Day...as long as I can remember we've never done it. We celebrate 'Un-Valentines Day' and it is any day of the year except February 14th.

It is usually a gift you don't expect and you never know when Un-Valentines Day is coming. One day you just surprise your spouse with Un-Valentines Day. Sometimes the gifts are small, sometimes they are big. For my spouse and I, Un-Valentines Day has turned out to be our biggest gift to each other during the year. It is truly special because you put a lot of thought and effort into something and then completely surprise each other on a day when the rest of the world is going on with their typical business. The best part about it? - Un-Valentines is on a day when corporate America isn't telling you that you must do something. Valentines Day takes the fun out of expressing your love and devotion to your spouse and kids.

Anonymous said...

I usually don’t comments on blogs, but couldn’t let this one go. I agree with the anti-sentiments about Valentines Day 100%. Last year, my I ended up spending a few hundred dollars on my wife when it all was “said and done”, trying to meet the spiraling expectations about this over-commercialized “holiday”. My efforts pretty much missed the mark, as I didn’t do something more impressive than last year! It angers me that this Day sets up expectations that commoditize romantic love and publicize its flimsiness.

I will now prefer to express my love when I want to do so, and in my personal and private way and not because some industry “tells” me this is the best day to do it.

I say it is time for the voices of reason to stamp out the Valentine ’s Day hype for once and for all for those reasoned minds who appreciate real love! Keep your flowers, chocolates, and syrupy card for those more concerned with superficiality and formality. This year, I am following the suggestions provided here! I am feeling better already!

Thanks for the suggestions!


Anonymous said...

Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.
Henry Van Dyke

Brenda K. Pick said...

I think Valentine's Day, as we know it, should END for everyone over the age of 8. About the time your mommy stops buying those boxes of assorted cards with cartoon characters on them. You remember the ones..."This isn't Puppy Love" that you sweated over whether or not you should send it to that boy/girl that made your heart go pitty-pat. After this stage something happens...maybe it's the hurt of a broken heart or unrequited love that makes us cynical. Anyway, let's return Valentine's Day to the innocence of youth and those sweet albeit cheesy Valentine card exchanges with friends.

Just a thought...Brenda

Joseph A. Banken, MA, PhD said...

Dear Readers,

V-Day is here! I surely have not seen a lot of extra love around my social environment today. Have you?

It seems that the feeling is that "it" is just another day.

I really appreciate each and every comment that you have shared. I hope we will hear more from you and others about this, before we bid farewell to V-Day 2008!

big sigh ! said...

I have not seen much of an indication of Valentine's day here either. This day does appear to be like any other day in which people I associate don't appreciate my efforts or the efforts of others in the work place or within one's personal life.

And, if it is Valentine's day or not, it is always nice to be appreciated for being kind to others, supporting one's coworkers for a job well done and the support of friends and family.

Since I have not seen any evidence of any of those types of appreciation today and perhaps, in general previously, I guess everyone is mostly focused on themselves without noticing anything else. Valentine's day, as any other day through out the year, tends to be disappointments on such matters!

Anonymous said...

Cupid is out-of-here for another year!


Anonymous said...

It doesnt take much effort to show love and kindness, this is just a day to remember to show it. If you get caught up in the hype the essense of it all is lost.