Approximately one billion cards are delivered for Valentine’s Day making it the second largest card-sending holiday, trumped only by Christmas. Along with cards, Valentine’s Day can also deliver huge amounts of stress.
Whether you are single or in a relationship, the holiday honoring St. Valentine seems to bring with it expectations of grandeur, and quite often, disappointment.
Expectations are one of the most common causes of stress. We have expectations of ourselves and of others – most of which contain lots of “shoulds.” Let’s look at some of the popular ones that show up on February 14th:
- I should be in a relationship.
- My boyfriend should buy me flowers.
- I should buy a present for my wife.
- We should have a romantic dinner and great sex.
- I should feel fine about being single and going out with my friends.
But wait! Expectations can be managed – by us. We have control over our thoughts. Regardless of the societal pressure, the inundation of messages, and way the holiday is presented, we can choose to release ourselves from martyrdom.
This year, how could you choose differently?
Putting the day in perspective can help. Here are some things to remember:
- Valentine’s Day is just one day out of the year.
- Presence can be far more gratifying than presents.
- Celebrating love can be done anywhere, anytime.
- Expensive, multi-course dinners and wine often lead to full tummies and feeling groggy – making sex less likely.
- Special evenings are created when distractions are eliminated and two people can really focus on each other.
- Doing something out of the ordinary helps enhance romance.
- Intimacy is a natural by-product of honest, caring expression and is created with heartfelt sharing.
- Romantic love, platonic love, and familial love are all part of this “love” holiday.
- There are no “shoulds” – only “coulds.”
How will you manage your expectations of yourself and others – stressing less and leaving the suffering to good ol’ St. Valentine?