Day 693: Be My Valentine

It's Valentine's Day, a day to celebrate love and romance and other related things. I did some quick reading on Wikipedia and the gist of it is that it is named after a few saints named Valentine and the legend is that one/some of these Valentine guys did some stuff that could be considered as honouring love. It became a day associated with romantic love after Geoffrey Chaucer wrote some stuff, and then became a day where lovers expressed their feelings in the 1800's. These days it's a very commercialized day (and weeks leading up to it) where people spend significantly more money on flowers, chocolates and dinners than they normally would.

The dark side of Valentine's Day shows its face within all the people who are alone or who are rejected. Valentine's Day has one of the highest suicide rates. Here is one article about the downside of Valentine's Day.

The dark side first emerges at a young age, when you start being interested in relationships. There are often only a small handful of people who easily attract partners (usually because they are physically appealing). Not getting courted can be especially difficult for young children and teens, when their self image is fragile and their peers are cruel. It brings to mind questions like "what's wrong with me?", "why does no one want me?" and can lead to destructive thought patterns that they often do not know how to deal with, which means that it is that much more likely that those thought patterns will stick with them and become a part of their self definition and self image.

The other aspect of the dark side of Valentine's Day is how it creates a bubble of fantasy around relationships, where for the day, a couple tries to have the "perfect" relationship, but the definition of perfection often comes from overly romanticised stories and movies - they are so romanticised that they are simply not realistic and are sometimes entirely impossible. So one of two things will usually happen:
  1. The day is a complete disappointment to one or both partners - it doesn't fit the image that one or both partners have of Valentine's Day (what it's supposed to be) and may start to resent each other, simply because their partner did not fulfill their unrealistic and idealised picture of what Valentine's Day should be. 
  2. The day is magical and special and one or both partners now compares every day after this to that magical day. Obviously it is unlikely that they will be able to recreate the magical day, so they start to experience a recurring disappointment in the mundane day to day life. 
Neither one of these possibilities is good for a relationship. Both of them usually lead to resentment and resentment often leads to the end of a relationship.

So what the hell do you do on Valentine's Day? Nothing. Or at least, don't hold any expectations. The moment you start expecting or hoping for the day to go a certain way you are actually sabotaging yourself. I don't mean that you shouldn't make plans - just don't attach any ideas to your plans - meaning, when you think about what you will be doing and another thought or image comes up of a scene that you see as "the ideal Valentine's Day" you need to stop for a moment. That scene is a fantasy - even if you can create it, it will only be for a moment in time. It is not sustainable. Take a deep breath in, breathe out and release the image you're holding on to. Real life doesn't work the way it is portrayed in movies and fairy tales, we have to actually create what we want to live - and things don't always go to plan. We need to be able to adapt to unexpected events and we need to be able to still move forward after them.