As a teenage girl, I found myself dreading the arrival of Valentine’s day. I knew I would watch all the pretty girls get candies and flowers from the boys. In fact, my crush sat behind me and always flirted with all the girls except me. I knew he would do the same on February 14th. To make Valentine’s even worse, I was on the student council, so I would be the one delivering all those gifts to all the pretty girls. I knew my heart would be crushed.
Being the problem solver that I am, I found a different way to cope with this unpleasant holiday. I chose to focus on what was going well in my life rather than the loneliness I felt. My best friend and I decided to send one other “secret admirer” gifts! This way we felt loved and made everyone else think we had a boyfriend, when in fact we didn’t. I felt special when a bear with chocolates was delivered to me at school. It helped soften the blow when my crush did in fact give a rose to all the girls in the class but me.
As Valentine’s day arrives this week, instead of focusing on what we don’t have, let’s focus on what we do have. Love does not only come from a significant other, it comes from family, friends, and others around us. Spend the day letting others know you appreciate them. You may not only make your day better, but also someone else’s day. Exchanging Valentine’s gifts with my friend made us both have a better day.
For those with a significant other, spend time with them. We too often are caught up in our lives and other relationships that we neglect to spend time together. Allow Valentine’s day to be a day to work through issues that separate you in your relationship. Give one another gifts and words of affirmation. Nurture your relationship.
Do not let Valentine’s day be a day to dread, but a day to enjoy with others.
Whitney Owens, LPC, MA