Hi friends, being that it is Valentine’s Day, I wanted to talk to you all about unmet expectations. Today is a day that many expectations may go unmet. Whether you have someone you celebrate this day with or not, we all have expectations about it. So, knowing that we all have them, what if we chose to communicate about them? Instead of hoping or wishing that your partner gets the hint about what you want to participate in on this day, choose to inform them what you might be thinking.
This might sound like, “Hey honey, I know we normally joke about how Valentine’s Day is a little silly and a bit over the top, but I seem to be getting a little bit more excited about this one this year and so I was hoping we could celebrate accordingly. How would you feel about picking a restaurant we don’t normally go to and making reservations for us? And then, I want to be mindful of our budget but I would love for you to pick out a small gift for me this year too. I have already gotten you something, and I am excited to give it to you at dinner.” By choosing to communicate some wants to your partner, it prevents you from getting upset later when he brings home carryout after work and just gives you a kiss on the cheek and a $1.00 clearance card wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day.
When we state what we want, it helps prevent us from getting hooked by internal wishes that we were hoping to be realities.
But what if you are not currently in a relationship? How do you navigate your feelings and unmet expectations on a day that seems to just highlight the fact that you have no one? If this is you, my challenge for you is to not get stuck in the comparison game. It is easy to scroll through social media and see those perfectly edited pictures of all the flowers, romance, and well-thought out gifts that everyone else seems to have, which just ends up bringing you further down and believing there may actually be something wrong with you.
I want you to repeat after me: There is nothing wrong with me.
Say it again: there is nothing wrong with me.
Let’s also add: relationships do not define me.
Now that you have stated a few of your truths, I want you to look around at the community that surrounds you and find someone whom might need to smile. Perhaps, a coworker is in the middle of a divorce and will also find him/herself dreading this day. What would it look like for you to invite them out for lunch or coffee? What would it look like for you to drop off a card and some chocolates at their desk to remind them just how much they are cared about?
Perhaps, a good friend of yours recently lost their spouse. What would it look like for you to drop off a single rose or a gift card to a favorite restaurant? This doesn’t by any means erase their pain, but it does remind them that they are seen and that they are not alone.
Regardless of who it is, the idea is to shift the focus off of what you don’t have and see it as another day and another opportunity to lift up and encourage someone else. Bringing support to someone else is truly the antidote to feeling sorry for ourselves. And then when you are done bringing smiles to the people around you, go pick out your own bouquet of favorite flowers or go sign up for a local single’s gala and remember that there is always next year but that this year, this day was actually quite fun.