3 Ways To Avoid Negative Emotions On Valentine's Day

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Life Coach: How To Avoid Negative Emotions On Valentines Day
Valentine's Day is coming up. Avoid expectations that can make you feel unnecessarily disappointed.

Valentine's Day is almost here! While it can be fun to celebrate this holiday (which began as an early Christian celebration of St. Valentinus), there can be some common traps along the way. Many of these involve unrealistic expectations. Even with the best intentions, people can buy into expectations that can make them feel disappointed on Valentine's Day. Be honest with yourself. Do you believe any of the following statements?  If so, you probably want to reconsider whether they're really true for you.

1.  If I don’t have a date/romantic interest by Valentine’s Day, I am a loser. 
Really? Why the deadline? Most of us don't assign specific deadlines to forming friendships or spending more time with family members. Doing so with dating and romantic relationships is equally unrealistic and often puts us under too much pressure.  The result can be crashing disappointment and frustration if we don't make an artificial deadline like this one. 

Solution: Ask yourself, why do I need a date on or romantic interest by Valentine's Day? How about before? Or afterwards?  Try to stay open to dating and romantic possibilities throughout the year. That way, you can enjoy whoever comes your way without feeling unnecessary pressure.  

2.  If my significant other doesn't buy me flowers/chocolate/jewelry/lingerie/etc. on Valentine’s Day. They must not love me.
A specific gift does not guarantee somebody loves you. It only means they are willing to spend money on you. While that can feel good, gifts are not substitutes for someone's feelings for you. Don't get locked into the notion that Valentine's Day requires a gift no matter what. You could be setting yourself up for unnecessary disappointment and anger if you don't get one. 

Solution: Ask yourself, how does my significant other make me feel the rest of the year? Am I happy to be with them? Do I look forward to seeing them and spending time with them? Is our relationship where I want it to be? Your honest answers to these questions are far better indicators of whether your significant other feels genuine, deep, and lasting feelings for you.

3. Bah Humbug! Valentine's Day is nothing to celebrate.
Really? Love is always something to celebrate, wherever you are. There's no requirement about how you celebrate love on any given day, Valentine's Day included. If you go into Valentine's Day assuming it will be awful, it very well could turn out that way because the choices you may make could result in making your expectation come true. 

Solution: Think about what you would genuinely like to do. Cook a warm, delicious dinner with some friends at home? Offer to walk your neighbor’s dog? Visit a relative you haven't seen in a while? Volunteer at a local homeless shelter or hospital? Take a new class at the gym? Read the book you've wanted to start or finish? Treat yourself to that massage you promised yourself?  Whether you aim your love at others or yourself, Valentine's Day gives all of us the opportunity to enjoy giving and receiving love. And that increases happiness all the way around!

Valentine's Day is a day of love. You should enjoy the day whether you're paired up or not. At the very least, you should be loving  yourself on this day! 

Dr. Jeph is a clinical psychologist with a private practice in New York City. She can be reached here or shoot her a note @DrJephTausig on Twitter.

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