Feb 13, 2022
Positive Ways to Change your Valentine’s Day Pessimism to Valentine’s Day Optimism
I’ll never forget one of my first Valentine’s Days with my boyfriend, now husband, Jon. With the spark of new love in the air, Jon gave me one of the most thoughtful Valentine’s Day gifts I’d ever received—his creativity. Every day, he drew me a full-colour comic book, illustrating the on-going saga of “Super Julia” and her adventures in her fight for Love.
Fast forward a couple of years into our marriage and I received one of the most thoughtless Valentine’s Day gifts from him: a Scooby-Doo calendar. I am not kidding. I couldn’t believe it. Could this be the same man? To top it off, I had taken several pains to help him feel loved that Valentine’s Day. I had baked a gigantic heart cookie. I left a trail of love notes. I had even plastered his vehicle with “I love you” decals.
In a word, I was disappointed. And like many other women, every year V-Day comes around, I’ve come to numb myself against the day, so I’m not disappointed.
So, if you’re bracing yourself for a bummer Valentine’s Day, here are 5 ways to “dis” the disappointment and experience the day with a bit more optimism:
1. Stop testing and start celebrating...
If I’m really honest, my Scooby-Doo disappointment came a lot from seeing it as a test of my husband’s love for me. I was measuring his love by the quality of his gift and the amount of his effort. I was keeping score! But what if I had simply seen the Day as a day to focus on my fondness for him rather than proving a point? I would have saved myself—AND my husband—a lot of grief!
2. Focus on love as a commitment, not as a feeling…
Some of the disappointment surrounding Valentine’s Day is a pressure to feel a certain feeling. It’s like we’re trying to replicate the feelings of “new love,” and if we don’t feel it, we’re disappointed or think something’s wrong. But I once read a helpful quote that read: “Being in love isn’t a mood. It’s a commitment, even when you’re not in the mood for it.” Wise words!
3. Concentrate on giving, not getting…
One of the best Valentine’s Day gifts you can give your partner is the gift of “lowered expectations.” Sometimes, we spend so much time building up in our minds what our partner “might” do for us for V-day that they are doomed no matter what they give or do for us! But you can make this Valentine’s Day a much better one simply by focusing on what you can give rather than what you’ll get.
4. Reframe the “Story”…
Often we tell ourselves stories about Valentine’s Day. If we’re single, we may think there’s something “wrong” with us. We may call ourselves “undatable,” “worthless” or some other nasty names. It’s time to reframe our Valentine’s Day stories! Because “Single” could mean “Independent.” Or reminding ourself that being single is better than being with the wrong person is just flipping the story on its head. There are lots of pros to not going out for Valentine’s Day: like saving money or the “opportunity” to spend time in your comfy-cozies. Let’s get rid of our negativity and look at our situation with fresh eyes!
5. Do something unexpected ...
Many Valentine’s Days are associated with the usuals: roses. Chocolate. Teddy-bears. But what if you bought your sweetheart tulips this year? Or bought yourself some flowers? That’s different! Valentine’s Day doesn’t need to be hum-drum but can be a little more enjoyable when you add a bit of the unexpected to it.
This Valentine’s Day, “dis” the disappointment!
Try some of these ideas to “love-ON” on your partner or yourself so that this day is meaning-FULL, rather than meaning-LESS. Love is a gift and we are so fortunate to not only have love but to give it too, not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day! Happy Valentine’s Day.
By Julia Van-Huizen