Regardless of whether you love, hate or are indifferent about Valentine’s Day, you just can’t avoid it! All the hype by media and merchants creates impossible expectations about what Valentine’s Day should be like. Because of this hype, many people are disappointed on Valentine’s Day!
Celebrate Your Relationships
Turn this year’s Valentine’s Day into a great one for you and all your prized relationships. We suggest that you celebrate the day but rethink its purpose. Make Valentine’s Day more meaningful by celebrating all your great relationships; that is, those with your spouse, significant other, kids, parents, friends, siblings, cousins, colleagues, business partners, and so forth.
“…No man is an island, entire of itself…”
John Donne (1572-1631)
The quote from John Donne reminds us that we live in an interrelated, social world. Although we may enjoy some ‘alone time’ occasionally, we are meant to be around others, to be connected to others. One of our basic human needs is to feel close to and understood by those who are important to us (1).
Make Valentine’s Day a time to reflect about the importance of your relationships, how each of your relationships enhances your life and how you enhance the lives of others with whom you connect.
Reflect and Communicate
Leading up to Valentines’ Day, take stock of your most important relationships. Who are the most important people in your life and why? Discover what makes these relationships good and your hope for making them even better.
The following are some questions to help you reflect.
Relationship with Spouse/Romantic Partner:
- What first attracted you to your spouse or partner?
- What made you fall in love?
- What are the 3 most important things that give “life and vitality” to your relationship?
- What does your partner do for you that you appreciate and love?
- What do you do for your partner that shows your love and appreciation?
- What is one thing you wish for the future that would strengthen and deepen this relationship?
- What are the 3 most memorable moments or experiences with this person? Times when you felt connected with them, energized by being around them, thankful for your relationship with the person.
- What did you do that made these great moments possible?
- What was the other person’s role in these experiences?
- What do you value most about the relationship?
- What one thing would make this relationship even better?
Ideally, get your partner (or other person in the relationship) to reflect on the same questions and share your responses. Bring into focus what’s working so you can create more of those factors going forward.
Valentine’s Day Message
Having reflected about your most important relationships and what you’ve learned about them, craft a personal message for each of the important people in your life. These messages will be cherished beyond the sweet savor of the truffles you buy from Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut! For our non-Canadian followers, think about “most delicious, creamy bursts of chocolate.”
Back to the message…
- What is the single most important message you want to communicate to them?
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, tell them how you feel about them and what you appreciate about your relationship.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Here is an example of message:
You might start with,
“Over the last week, I’ve been thinking about all the things we’ve experienced together and some of the wonderful moments we’ve had. Remember when (insert your stories/moments here)”
“I just wanted to let you know that I greatly appreciate (insert here what you appreciate about them)”
- your honesty and openness,
- how you help me see the right thing to do when I feel lost
- that you are a wonderful parent to our children
“Thank you for…”
“I hope that going forward….”
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Live by Your Words
Every day is an opportunity to appreciate what is good in our relationships. Declaring your appreciation once a year is not enough to strengthen the bond. Demonstrate true appreciation with your actions every day.
We all have moments in relationships when we want to strangle the other person. Sometimes it’s something they’ve done and sometimes it’s our own doing. Frustrations can build up and overshadow the positives. When you’re feeling frustrated or angry, stop, reflect and consider what’s working and how to build on that foundation. Change your perspective on the situation and be purposeful on how you interact. Your action creates a counter-action, so your positive action will likely be returned with a positive reaction.
(1) Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). The “what” and “why” of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11, 227–268. doi:10.1207/S15327965PLI1104_01