Thursday, February 14, 2013

Turn Valentine's Day around...

Too many people (myself included in the past) set themselves up for disappointment and hurt, and their relationship for trouble when they have certain expectations for Valentine's Day (or birthday or Christmas).

There's an expectation of the other person to do a certain level of stuff, whether it is going out, cooking dinner, buying a present, getting a card, saying sweet words. Whatever it is, a specific expectation from another person is a sure recipe for hurt and strife.

For one, the other person is not you. They may think about things completely differently than you do. What is meaningful to them and represents love could be the opposite of your values. Doesn't mean either one is right or wrong, just different.

For one person cooking is the ultimate expression of love, for another it's making something rather than buying it, for another it is spending time and sacrificing money to find a perfect gift, for another it might be staying home and snuggling, and for another it's going out on the town. Perhaps see the gesture for what it is, their unique expression of love, even if it is not what you would have chosen.

Beyond that, they can't read your mind to know what you are thinking or expecting.

And lastly, they are really under no obligation to do anything. Sure we like to feel special and that someone else has been thoughtful to us on a day that is focused on love in our society. But if you wrap up the worth of your mate or the health of your relationship based on what the other person does or doesn't do on a holiday, I think it is a false measure. And a false measure can only lead to hurt. They don't have to do anything, no one does and we sure can't control what they do, but perhaps through example we can help them want to.

Show your love for them in the way that means the most to you. If that's making something for them, do it. If it's buying a present, go ahead. If it's planning a night out, take the responsibility for that, don't expect them to. Be flexible in what you do. Don't assume anything and don't compare to anyone else.

And it's my belief that if someone sees you putting in the effort, they will too, perhaps in a different way than you but they will respond to your outpouring of love. Take away that stress of having to "perform" on a particular day and I'll bet they will come back with whatever is their own unique expression of love.

And really, if you make any holiday or any day of your life about someone else, who they are, what they need, what they want, what makes them feel special, if you focus your energy on others, you will feel so warm and full and blessed and good you will not have the energy to worry about what you are getting (or not) in return.

I also think the gifts we give should be practical, frugal and creative. Too much emphasis is put on price and largeness in our society. And the bigger the gift, the more pressure on the other person to be equal and the more pressure to do bigger and better next time. Love, in my opinion, should not be tied up in things. It is the mingling of two unique souls, each complementing the other and offering whatever gifts they possess within themselves.

Just my two (or more) cents. Happy Valentine's Day!

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