Yesterday evening, I saw a gang of little girls laughing hysterically as they ran down the street in the snow. Each one was carrying a shopping bag covered in red ribbons and hearts. It looked like they were on their way to a party to make valentines.
If you’re female, do you remember when you were a kid and Valentine’s Day was fun? We’d get those oversized paper cut-out books filled with pink and red flowers and hearts and ribbons and cards with corny sayings that we’d cut out and decorate with more drawings and glitter. It was a crafts extravaganza! Then we’d give the cards to all our friends and our teacher, to our parents and grandparents and brothers and sisters. And then we’d eat chocolate hearts.
When did Valentine’s Day turn deadly? Two days on the calendar, Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve, have the power to make you miserable. If you don’t have someone special in your life and wish you did, Valentine’s Day ramps up the loneliness quotient by a factor of a thousand. Your mind is drawn, like a magnet, to everyone around you who appears to be so deliriously in love, no matter how far from the truth that may actually be. It hurts.
If you’re recovering from the breakup of a marriage or significant relationship, it’s even worse. Now your mind is filled with memories of happy times with the one who’s gone and that brings on an uber-ache. If you’re a sensitive person prone to feeling bad, you’re in dangerous waters for 24 hours on February 14th!
I say, let’s bring back the fun in Valentine’s Day! Let’s make Valentine’s Day be about love in all its incarnations. Let’s throw love at our friends, family and dog, and do something special for them, even if it’s just a phone call. Let’s make an effort to smile at strangers and warmly thank the guy in the café when he hands you your coffee.
Let’s make Valentine’s Day be about arts-n-crafts! How about doing a drawing or starting to knit a sweater (okay, I know no one knits these days but go with me). Buy those decorative pillows you know you need for living room or paint the bits on the kitchen counter where the color is coming off.
It’s all about your energy and what you choose to do with it. You can reach down inside and bring up positive energy. Fight to expel all that negative energy that will ruin a perfectly good day. Every day is precious – don’t sacrifice this one to the blues.
I’m a psychotherapist, family therapist and the author of Runaway Husbands: The Abandoned Wife's Guide to Recovery and Renewal and My Sister, My Self: The Surprising Ways that Being an Older, Middle, Younger or Twin Shaped Your Life. I can be found online at www.vikkistark.com and www.runawayhusbands.com.