"I hate Valentine's Day" is not an uncommon proclamation. Many people, whether single, married, or dating, just aren't into this hyper-commercialized day of love.
The fact is that not everyone's relationship measures up to the Valentine's Day ideal. You may not have the finances to indulge in the day as popular culture encourages. You may not feel like celebrating - even if there is cause to celebrate. Or, you may be one of many folks who just don’t make a big deal out of what they feel is a contrived holiday.
Regardless of the reason, Valentine's Day is not a cause for celebration in everyone's life.
The other day, I asked a single friend how he was going to deal with Valentine's Day this year. He said he was going to ignore it like every other year, but I don't know how true that actually is.
Valentine's may be hard to ignore when every store has red, heart-themed displays advertising loveable specials and deals. You know what I mean, everything from "get your sweetie an engraved iPad for Valentine's" to "lovers specials on zoo tickets!"
Since ignoring Valentine's may be impossible, let's focus on something more manageable and minimize its impact instead.
Read a book rather than watch TV, listen to podcasts or recorded music rather than live radio, order what you need online and avoid gaudy Valentine's displays in stores.
Plan a vacation day at work on Valentine's Day so you don't have to watch it all unfold, spewing red and pink all over the place. If you choose to work that day, send yourself some flowers from a secret admirer and act all giddy like everyone else. It's okay to fake it till you make it.
You may not be in a relationship (or even want one), but there are plenty of people out there who are in a relationship and want to get out. As the saying goes, it is worse to be lonely with someone than it is to be lonely without someone.
Gratitude lists are wonderful tools when you're in the doldrums. Just start writing the first thing you notice around you. There is always something to be grateful for. List as many things as you can and add to it each day. This exercise will not only keep you busy, it will bolster your self-esteem and refocus you on the positives in your life.
If what you are doing isn’t working, try something different. If you are single and don't want to be, take action - like joining eHarmony.
If you are already a member of an online dating site, spend Valentine’s Day making your profile, and the pictures on it, shine. I know many people who met on eHarmony and married. I am one of them. I met the woman of my dreams two days after doing a total profile makeover.
. . . sit down with your partner and discuss what aspects of your relationship aren’t going exactly right. Make a plan about how to improve your relationship by tackling one issue at a time.
Often, people experiencing relationship trouble try to fix everything at once, and fail because the task is overwhelming. Concentrate together on one thing each week until things get better. Keep the dialogue going.
In a relationship, addressing even small things like hair in the shower or socks on the floor can be vitally important. Here is part of the reason why: It is not the big things in life like death, job loss, or divorces that make people go off the edge. It's the shoelace that breaks in the morning when you are late for work that causes people to snap.
The little crap in life can actually be really big crap. Especially if little bits of crap pile up over time.
. . . watch The New Rules of Love, Sex and Dating videos by Andy Stanley. They are available to watch online for free. Andy Stanley is the pastor of North Point Community Church here in Georgia.
The message in this series is a vital one for single people. It is guided by one simple question: "Are you who the person you are looking for is looking for?" North Point is a Christian church, but these videos are designed to educate and encourage rather than convert. I took the one-year challenge he mentions in the series, and it is one of the best things I ever did. I have walked through a year in the life of other people taking the challenge, and it was profound. Watch the series to learn the details, and try it!
Sometimes problems are too large or too complex to solve on your own. If Valentine’s Day really, seriously, gets you down, it may be less about the day and more about what is going on inside or around you that makes you want to crawl under the covers or run away.
Counseling is easier to obtain than ever before using services like Breakthrough. Therapists on Breakthrough (I am one of them) meet with clients over the internet using a secure video connection. There are pros and cons to online counseling. Research the differences between in-person sessions and online sessions and decide which is best for you. But the bottom line is, if you need help, get it.
There are many reasons why you may declare, "I hate Valentine's Day!" My hope is that you will use these seven tips to help you go from dreading Valentine’s Day to enjoying it. The tips aren’t all easy, and they may take time; but they are actions that can lead to greater happiness.
I'm looking for readers who are willing to share what small things you struggle with in big ways. Especially small things in your relationship that are adding up to big issues.
Tweet about them using #LittleCrapCounts or send them to me using the form below.