Surviving Valentine’s Day when you don’t have a partner
Surviving Valentine’s Day when you don’t have a partner How do you survive the hype of Valentine’s Day when you don’t have a partner or someone to share it with? Valentine’s Day Hype If you Google surviving holidays as newly divorced or separated, there are hundreds of articles and blogs that will come up […]
Surviving Valentine’s Day when you don’t have a partner
How do you survive the hype of Valentine’s Day when you don’t have a partner or someone to share it with?
Valentine’s Day Hype
If you Google surviving holidays as newly divorced or separated, there are hundreds of articles and blogs that will come up and provide support, strategies, and information on how to survive different holidays or special days when you’re separated or divorced, and have no partner. There are also thousands of articles on surviving your first and future holidays and special days without your partner following their death. Let’s face it; Valentine’s Day is in your face. As soon as Christmas is over, the hot cross buns are out and the cuddly toys, hearts, chocolates and flowers start appearing for Valentine’s Day. I am trying to think of when I stopped liking Valentine’s Day and when I started to notice that there are many people who detest Valentine’s Day. I know that when I was much younger, I would become very excited at the prospect of flowers, chocolates, and who remembers those big padded cards you could buy? I think I started to notice the ‘unhappiness’ of Valentine’s Day when I became a mental health professional; when I became more in tune with commercialism, and it became vastly amplified when I became separated.
For many people, special holidays such as Valentine’s Day, are not necessarily a happy time. As I mentioned before, we are often forced into Valentine’s Day even before the Christmas decorations are down, and there seems to be an incredible ‘commercial vortex’ that is so hard not to get sucked in to. Unfortunately, a great BIG VALENTINE’S DAY MYTH has been created through consumerism, media and all of those ‘happy’ Valentine’s Day themed TV shows and movies.
I started to think that I wasn’t looking forward to Valentine’s Day, and what is it all about; this one day where we can often get sucked into the vortex of consumerism, buying gifts, decorations, more fluffy teddies (because there are better ones than last year!), food, alcohol, frantically trying to get to the shop before the best gifts and cards were gone from the shelves!! I reflected on all of these thoughts and feelings, and started to acknowledge them – to just notice them. There is a great expectation that Valentine’s Day will be a happy one. In this amazing country we live in, Valentine’s Day is not an inclusive one. It’s actually okay to feel sadness and grief when someone you have spent many years with, is no longer in your life and it’s shoved in your face. When we lose someone, we remember them and the memories of good times and holidays. Whether the separation was uncomplicated or complicated, there was a time when you fell in love with that person. You may still love them, or you may have feelings of anger or hurt towards them. You don’t have to be happy just because it’s Valentine’s Day. Take the time to express your feelings.
I know that there is a cliché phrase of ‘what is the true meaning of Valentine’s Day’ for those who celebrate or ritualise this particular time of year. How many times do we hear this? To me, it is not about that one day, it is about every day. You can ask yourself these questions. What are my values every day? Do I want to live my life every day according to my true values? What are my values? For me, it is about being a loving, caring, compassionate Mother, sister, friend, work colleague, and counsellor to those who visit my clinic room. It is about being authentic and congruent. There are many other values I act upon, and move towards each day in my life. There are actions we can take each day to move towards those values, and this one day of the year, we can continue to do this.
Being realistic is one such thing. Valentine’s Day is not about being the best, most perfect day, or as it were previous years. This doesn’t mean you let go of traditions you love and enjoy, but you can also find and create new ones. For example, if you have always had Valentine’s Day with your ex-partner in the family home, or out to dinner at your favourite restaurant, find a new venue, go to the movies, choose your favourite movie to watch in your PJs with your favourite food, volunteer to help others, or go out with another single friend; connect with your own tribe.
Normalising feelings and accepting that just because you are moving towards living by your values, it does not mean that family and friends have not got caught up in the effects of the ‘commercial vortex’. Expectations may be high for everyone. This is a high benchmark to reach. Set aside any discord until there is a mutually appropriate time for discussions. Remember, it sounds simple, but taking a few deep cleansing breaths really can give you the space between someone else’s upset or distress.
As the separation may have altered your financial situation, notice your methods of coping. Do you tend to buy things to make you feel happier, or to cover up the emotional pain and sadness you may be feeling? Remember, that retailers are on a mission to get sales figures! We live in a world of ‘tap and go’, Eftpos, Afterpay, and credit cards. Buying gifts or things for you can be a moment of elation or false happiness that does not last. Come back to your values and your feelings and know that ‘things’ can’t buy happiness, and it’s still okay to feel sadness and grief. It is so easy to cover up a broken heart by piling ‘things’ on top of your heart and emotional pain. It is very painful to feel sadness and loneliness, but it doesn’t go away just because you may have covered it up with extra purchases, food, alcohol and other items.
Notice your surroundings
If you feel that you need to be on your own, ask yourself, what will you do with that time? Practice mindfulness if this is something you do. Take ten or fifteen minutes for yourself without phones, Ipads, computers or television. Listen to some music, do something that restores you. Watch nature. When was the last time you sat and watched an ant on its journey? Remember watching a baby discover its own hand, or watching a leaf fall from a tree. Watch something and notice it as if it was the first time you had ever experienced it. When was the last time you truly looked at the intricacies of a flower in bloom? How does it smell? How many colours does it have? What is its texture? Does it have many different textures? How big is it? Does it move?
Acknowledge your feelings
Acknowledge your feelings. Remember that it is normal to feel sad and at times overwhelmed if you can’t be with loved ones on a special day. It’s okay to cry and express your feelings. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s Valentine’s Day. Be kind to yourself. If you find that despite using your different strategies, that you are persistently overwhelmed, unable to sleep, experience feelings of hopelessness, or are unable to move through your normal routines, seek help from your GP and/or a mental health professional.
As I mentioned earlier, that GREAT BIG FAT VALENTINE’S DAY MYTH OF HAPPINESS AND WONDERMENT is always doing its best to suck us in. Whilst we are struggling to reach that MYTH, we are actually not in the present moment. Breathe, breathe, and breathe again, and notice that there are rich, meaningful and fulfilling experiences every day, if we just jump off that ‘commercial vortex’ and come back to the present moment experiences and connections in the here and now.
If you would like to learn more about how I can support you with anything that has been raised in this blog, or any other issues you may be requiring support with, you can contact me on my website at www.claresillencecounselling.com.au Ph:0403 848 398 or via my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=clare%20sillence%20counselling%20%26%20consultancy