Be honest ladies. We've all had times when Valentine's Day made us a little crazy. It's the one-day each year that has the ability to destabilize even the most grounded female among us. Whether it's a fleeting minute of sadness or an entire week of the blues, Valentine's Day carries a huge message for women. It's become a signifier of love's validity.
How could it not? We live in a culture of commercialized consumerism. Imbedded within the ads for cards, jewelry and romantic dinners are the underlying messages: If we (as women) receive this kind of demonstration, we are worthy. If not, we are defeated.
This heightened holiday for lovers is packed with behavioral dictates for men as well. And we as women have come to believe in this twisted ideal: that Valentine's Day equates our value in terms of what actions our man takes, or doesn't take.
As market-driven industries prop up the correct way our partner must prove their love, we're lead to believe that anything less than perfect compliance indicates a lesser love, as well.
Valentine's Day creates huge hopes and expectations. Therein lies the root cause of the "crazies." We don't want to react to the hype. We try not to bite the bait. With our defenses on overload, we struggle to fight off any auto-reactions to the litany of Valentine's Day "shoulds." But the messages keep coming, persistent and omnipresent.
For those of you who are in a partnership, you're hoping for the declaration of your man's attention and admiration on this day. You want the thrill of a romantic evening that leaves your toes tingling the next morning. You want the rapture and the passion. You expect it. You've been programmed to do so.
For single ladies, Valentine's Day is a chafing reminder of your non-partnered status. The loved one you desire isn't present to give you chocolates, roses and take you to a romantic dinner. You're left alone to wonder why others are reaping the rewards you know you rightly deserve.
How does one avoid being thrown into an emotional spin cycle on Valentine's Day? By knowing the truth: No single day bears testimony to a partner's love. Proof of love exists within the many smaller moments of a relationship. To set your site on this one-day as a marker of love is guaranteed to send you off-kilter.
Being "single" isn't an assessment of one's lack of worth or lovability. It's a natural state of being that holds as much value as being partnered. Singlehood can either be a proactive choice, or a temporary segment in time to reset dating goals. Being single can mark the time between oneness with yourself and the birth of new love to be shared with another.
There are always partners who'll want us. Taking time out to recalibrate ourselves, our goals, and redefine what we want is essential. It allows for partnership to flourish when the right future connection is made.
As Valentine's Day approaches, please relax. See the social pressure for what it is... a marketing ploy crafted for revenue. Real love is independent of gifts and flowers. Anyone can give you those things. Real love is quiet but powerful. It's an inner feeling of connection and resonance.
Let your lover off the hook if their actions are anything less than perfect on this day. If you're single, let yourself off the hook. Love yourself. That's the basis of all partnership. Know who you are and know your worth. No person and no single day in the calendar year can erase that truth.