Valentine’s Day brings mixed emotions for some people. Whether you are single, starting over, or in a relationship there’s something you can do this Valentine’s to set yourself up for a year full of love, not just on one holiday. A lot of us assume or expect our loved ones, family, and friends will make us feel loved, cared for, and appreciated. Much of our perceived happiness is actually controlled by how in-tune we are with filling our love needs by ourselves.
Starting today you can learn why some days you may feel out of sorts, unloved, and unappreciated. Then you can make the conscious decision to put into place new ways to think, feel, or act whenever you want more love in your life.
Dr. John Gray, who coined the analogy: men are from Mars, women are from Venus, breaks ages and stages (developmental time periods) into what he calls “The Ten Time Periods.” He uses the term “love vitamins” as a catchy, fun way to reference the essential love needs every person requires to move from one level of emotional development to the next.
Issue: Vitamin Deficiency
Like good nutrition to keep our bodies healthy, we need certain love vitamins to emotionally grow and stay true to our authentic selves. If we don’t eat enough of a certain vitamin corresponding to the love need of a time period, later on in life we may need to eat earlier love vitamins to satisfy the love needs that are almost empty.
Nobody grows through all ten time periods to maturity with all love needs fulfilled. As we grow into maturity, most of our dissatisfaction is not about the needs of the current time period. It’s due to not getting enough of a vitamin from a previous time period.
The growing pains of love for some people increase dramatically as they search for a partner to live with for the rest of their life. In our search we place emphasis on other people filling our love tank up; when really we should be focusing first on our own love nutrition. There is something to the wisdom that you have to be right with yourself, satisfied and in love with who you are before you become involved in a long-term committed relationship.
The chart below depicts the ten time periods and corresponding love need. While the time period is our chronological age, it is important to remember that our emotional growth doesn’t always correspond with our actual age.
Time Period Love Vitamin Love Need
1. Conception to birth Vitamin G1 God’s love
2. Birth to seven Vitamin P1 Parents’ love
3. Seven to fourteen Vitamin F Family, friends, & fun
4. Fourteen to twenty-one Vitamin P2 Peers & others with similar goals
5. Twenty-one to twenty-eight Vitamin S Self-love
6. Twenty-eight to thirty-five Vitamin R Relationships & romance
7. Thirty-five to forty-two Vitamin D Loving a dependent
8. Forty-two to forty-nine Vitamin C Giving back to community
9. Forty-nine to fifty-six Vitamin W Giving back to the world
10. Fifty-six and beyond Vitamin G2 Serving God
When couples experience tension the root cause is one or both of the individuals have neglected to nurture their “self” first. Remember when the plane is going down, put the oxygen on yourself first so you don’t pass out before helping others.
The same goes if you are single and want to be dating. Learn how to fill these love needs by yourself before you jump into a relationship and falsely expect the other person to do the hard work for you. The love vitamin where most people become deficient is: self-love. This mostly has to do with our society’s belief that our romantic relationships should fulfill our every love need.
People in truly healthy and happy relationships, however, know, practice, and understand the individuals in the relationship have to practice self-love before they’re able to tend to the needs of their mate, their kids, and other obligations they take on as they go through life.
Solution: Consume Needed Love Vitamin
Notice when you’re placing unexamined assumptions or unrealistic expectations on those closest to you. Up until age seven you depend on love from your parents to make you feel valued. From seven to fourteen years old you look to the rest of your family, friends, and having fun to feel like you belong. From fourteen to twenty-one as you’re building your identity you get your sense of worth and validation from your peer and others who have similar goals. Between twenty-one to twenty-eight, when many people jump into relationships, this is the golden time period when if you learn how to care for yourself and nurture your own interests you are able to then open yourself up to deeper relationships in your thirties.
However, during your 20s and 30s is when love needs can get confusing. Up until your early 20s you depended on other people to fulfill your love needs. To have a truly open, honest, and committed long-term relationship last in your 30s and beyond it is critical to learn how to love and care for yourself before tending to the care and feeding of your relationship. If you have kids before you’ve figured self-love out, then this can also complicate things as well.
So, if you’re hoping for a big romantic gesture on Valentine’s, then talk about this with your love before the big day. If you constantly feel disappointed or let down, because you’re hoping someone will give you a massage, or a gift certificate for a facial, or that they’ll make dinner for you, then something bigger could be underfoot, i.e., you’ve forgotten to take time to care for yourself. If you notice you feel run down all the time, ask yourself what nurturing thing you could do for yourself to feel loved. Bubble baths, settling down to read a good book, taking a hike to feel refreshed, calling up an old friend—these are things we can do on a daily basis to make sure we’re caring and nurturing our self.
Our 50s and 60s is another time period when we can feel jaded or run down if we don’t have enough love vitamins from prior time periods. If most of our loved needs have been met, then we may find ourselves happily married, nurturing our kids, doing community service, and involved with causes to effect change on a global level. However, if you’re in your 50s and are divorced, feel exhausted, and resentful of giving your time away to everyone else except you; then you may need to take time practicing self-love and devoting quality time to your interests and friendships before you feel ready to give back to the community or world.
When you release the expectation that someone else will notice or do this for you, then you begin to place realistic expectations on others. When you examine an assumption about why you want someone else to do it for you, then your assumptions about how other people should be towards you can become more balanced. And, if you’re having trouble creating that space and time for you, then coaching can help you re-prioritize your life so that you find balance as you pursue your goals and keep your relationships intact, including the most important one—the relationship with your Self.
Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd
Mars Venus Coaching
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