Valentine’s Day is a hard day for anyone not in a relationship, and it causes more stress, anxiety and depression than almost any other ‘holiday’ for everyone, in or out of relationships. It is a day that begs for acknowledgment of love, passion, connectedness and for validation of whatever your hopes, dreams fantasies are about love. TV, radio and even the Internet are now full of ads telling you that you “must” get your valentine the “correct” gift (and they recommend everything from diamonds to mops?!) or somehow you aren’t up to snuff. Does this sound and feel like a pressure cooker? I think it does! I believe a better choice is to make Valentine’s Day about acknowledging the relationship you have with yourself, your friends, and your life. It’s important to realize that it’s easy to celebrate any holiday when relationships are easy, times are easy, and moods and life are upbeat and positive. What do we do when life is challenging, our romantic relationships are challenging or nonexistent, and no one ever taught us that paying attention to oneself was something to acknowledge and celebrate? Your journey to self-esteem is about loving, respecting and accepting who you are because who you are is enough! I suggest that you can make today about loving yourself, and giving yourself the love, respect and compassion you deserve. Then, whoever else is in your life will also benefit because your mood will be uplifted and that is the energy you will share with those around you.

Three suggestions for coping with Valentine’s Day:
1. Acknowledge your past relationships (platonic and intimate) and do something that honors what those relationships were. We have all had relationships, from family, friends, lovers, etc., that no longer exist, or that are no longer what we wish they were. However, you can see in looking back what was loving in those relationships and today is a good day to acknowledge that you have loved, were loved and know how to be loving. You can acknowledge these past relationships by writing a letter, calling a friend to talk about your relationship, lighting a candle, filling a memory box, etc. Set aside a specific amount of time to remember and honor what was, and then go to the next steps
2. Make plans with friends. Share an upbeat comedy movie night at home or out. Sharing a good time with friends reminds you that life is about our connections, both platonic and intimate, and Valentine’s Day can be about friendship and connectedness on other levels than just the commercial ones ‘advertised’ .
3. Do something that is loving for YOU! You might go for a massage, a manicure, a workout at the gym, or your favorite meal. Make the day about loving who you are, and honoring your being as a whole person, not just the part of you that is missing someone or something. Always remember that who you are is enough, and it is true whether or not you are in a relationship. Learning to love and enjoy the company you keep in those quiet moments is a gift you give yourself every day of the year.

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