Valentine's Day can either be a pleasurable occasion or stress filled with high expectations and disappointment. If you have that special relationship, Valentine's Day can be a time to show love and affection. For singles, the day can be a reminder of loneliness or a missing relationship.
Even people who do have significant others can wind up hating Valentine's Day. The problem is that Valentine's Day often comes with a predetermined set of expectations. Someone may expect a certain gift, a special night out, or some other gesture. Disappointment results whenever expectations are not met.
Surviving For Couples
Valentine's Day isn't a day of amnesty or a single opportunity to fix problems in a relationship. Issues don't pop up overnight nor can they be fixed that way. If you anticipate repairing a relationship in one day, you will be disappointed.
Don't get caught up in the commercialization. Relationships portrayed in advertisements don't necessarily reflect reality. You can show you care with the use of your heart and imagination. Do simple things that say, "I'm thinking of you."
Don't rely on your partner to read your mind. If you have specific desires, share them. Give without expecting anything in return. Small, thoughtful gestures mean a lot, don't overlook them.
Not everyone gets enthusiastic about Valentine's Day. If your partner isn't that excited, don't read too much into it. Do whatever feels comfortable and be okay with it. You don't have to do anything you are uncomfortable with. Simply saying, "Happy Valentine's Day. I love you." sends the message that you are thinking of your partner.
Surviving For Singles
Accept your emotions. If you are sad and lonely, it's okay. You feel what you feel. Just because you may not happen to be in a relationship for Valentine's Day does not mean there is anything wrong with you.
Be social. Organize a group of other singles for dinner out or some other social activity. You may not be involved romantically, but you have more people in your life who care about you than you realize.
Treat yourself. Buy or do something special. Splurge a little. Rather than fixating on not being in a relationship at the moment, be thankful for what's good in your life. Ironically, singles spend a lot of time hoping for a relationship, while many in a relationship lament the freedom of their single days.
Valentine's Day is as commercialized as Christmas. Look at all the money and stress you save by not being caught up in the frenzy. Immerse yourself in other activities. If you are busy, you won't even notice Valentine's Day. Help others in need. When you do, you will also feel better.
If you want a relationship, be proactive. Don't wait for a relationship to find you, go out and look for one. Stay upbeat. A happy person is much more attractive than someone with a perpetual frown. No one wants to spend time with a person who is bitter or resentful.
If there is someone you are interested in, take the initiative. Invite them to get together with you. Stay sociable. Get out and about. Involve yourself in a variety of activities. There are many opportunities to meet people. Join a gym, take a class, volunteer, join a singles group, and pursue your hobbies.
Regardless of your situation, keep in mind that Valentine's Day is only one day. Good or bad, it goes by quickly.
Bryan is the author of "Dare to Live Without Limits." Visit www.DareToLiveWithoutLimits.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a self-development expert, syndicated columnist, and professor. E-mail Bryan at firstname.lastname@example.org.