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Yes. It's Ok To Be Sad On Valentine's Day (But Only For A Minute)

There are few holidays more stressful than Valentine’s Day.

There, I said it.

Sure, it’s supposed to be the best one. Full of love, romance, and candy!

But what if it’s not. What if Valentine’s Day stresses you out or makes you sad?

There’s a lot of pressure around this day signified by hearts and chubby cherubs wearing diapers with arrows.

If you are in a good relationship there is an expectation to at least do as good, if not better, than last year. Even though your partner may say not to worry about it and don’t do anything – you know deep down they want some outward display of your affections.

If you are in a new relationship – well that’s a whole new level of stress. How much is too much? How much is too little? Do you tip your hand and risk pushing them away? Do you hold back out of caution and risk pushing them away?

If you are in a bad relationship it’s just another sting to the heart. Another reminder of the pain and disappointment of feeling rejected, unworthy, or discarded. Any gesture is suspect and feels like a show for the outside world but you know the true story.

If you are single – then it’s easy to also feel defective. Or a failure. Even with the brave face and an independent spirit and even on days when you enjoy your freedom, Valentine’s Day can sometimes feel like an indictment of your self-worth or place in society.

So – yes. All of those scenarios sound negative. And – no. Not everyone feels that way regardless of which situation they are in. There are those who truly are happy and content in either their current relationship or their current single status.

BUT – there are those who aren’t. There are those who are sad. Confused. Anxious.

And what I’m here to tell you today is that it’s OK to feel that way.

You are not wrong, bad, ungrateful, selfish, or desperate if you are currently in a funky state about Valentine’s Day.

I give you permission to feel your feelings.

For a minute.

But that’s all.

Because there is so much more to this life (and relationships) than the actions and words expressed on this one calendar day of the year.

If you are in a good relationship – be proud of it. They take work and dedication to sustain. Don’t get caught up in the hype to “prove” your love. It’s obvious you show affection and attention all the other days to reach this sweet spot. Yes – do something extra nice to honor the day, but don’t make it a competition between the two of you to see who does more/better. And if your partner somehow fails to meet your pre-conceived notion of what they should have done; cut them some slack. If you feel valued and safe in a relationship don’t ask them to jump through hoops one day of the year.

Same advice if you are in a new relationship. Scale back the expectations. Stay off the social media posts where someone does a dramatic gesture just to pull at your heartstrings. Number one, you don’t know if it’s real. And number two, you don’t know the dynamic of their relationship. Don’t start keeping score at this early junction on their Valentine’s Day skills. (In fact, don’t start keeping score at all. It’s unhealthy and can easily backfire.)

If you want to give them something or do something special, then do it. Be respectful of where you think they might be emotionally. But a simple gesture is perfectly fine. Don’t use this day to rush into saying “I Love You”. If it’s time, fine, but always know that comes with a risk and might be better saved for a different day.

And if the other person doesn’t return with their own gesture or gift, try not to read too much into it. They were probably stressing (just like you) about what to do. Everyone brings their own fears and insecurities into new relationships. Don’t make a deal out of it. Don’t even bring it up. If they are a keeper, they will prove it in many more ways than a flower delivery or an overpriced, flashy card.

It’s a little more complicated if your relationship is strained. This day almost feels like a betrayal. You put your hopes, dreams, and commitment into your partner, and now things are falling apart. Maybe they have distanced themselves, or you just don’t feel it anymore. The reasons for either are too many to mention in this post. All I can say is relationships are hard. And they will go through valleys and rough spots. If it is just one of those; push through. Talk it out. Go to counseling. Pray about it.

Don’t do anything insincere or half-heartedly just because of the date. If you need to make amends, then do so. If you truly feel the relationship is over, then an honest conversation should take place. Ideally, not on Valentine’s Day, but don’t prolong the inevitable. And if the relationship has moved beyond strained and into abusive, then give yourself the best Valentine ever with the gift of loving yourself enough to move on.

NOW – for those of us who are single – it’s usually a mixed bag of feelings. Yay – we don’t have to spend money on trinkets or elaborate gestures. Yay – we don’t have the anxiety of the what/when/how.

BUT – there is also an inescapable truth on this day above all others, that we are un-partnered in this world. And that’s not always a good feeling. Sometimes it’s a downright rotten feeling.

Most February 14ths brush right on by me. I am usually not phased or flustered by it. I have been single for quite a while. Not always by design, but for mostly good reasons. I have adapted and accepted my current status. I’ve even adjusted pretty well, in my opinion. But this year it hit a little harder. I’m getting older. Maybe more tired. I’ve recently experienced situations that would have been made easier (maybe), if I had someone to kick ideas around with, hold my hand, and help me with things I’m not particularly good at.

This year I’m a little sad for Valentine Day’s to roll around. And, at first, I was mad at myself. Ashamed. How silly of me. But then I decided it was ok. My feelings were legit. Not terminal, but completely normal. And then I decided I couldn’t be the only one.

So I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you that it’s ok if you are not thrilled with the upcoming lover’s holiday. Regardless of your relationship status, if you are just not feeling it this year, own it.

Don’t wallow. No pity parties allowed. Your life (my life) is not defined by this one aspect. Take a moment (or two) to live in the moment. Then decide to move on to the next moment that is awaiting your attention.

Whatever it is in your life that makes you happy, fulfilled, joyful – that’s where you focus. Surround yourself with people who love you. (Because love is not confined to a romantic connection.) In fact, you can use this day to tell anyone you love – just that. That you love them. Support them. Appreciate them.

And then do something nice for yourself.

My Hopefuls, I give you permission to be sad, but not to stay sad.

Life is a beautiful, thrilling, one-of-a-kind adventure. Don’t let one day define you or your journey.

Be thankful, love others, and eat the candy!

And always….

Hope With Abandon

Hope Out


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