>Every retail store in North America starts the Valentine’s push about the end of January, if not directly after the New Year. Bears and hearts are stuffed into baskets and boxes, coffee mugs and heart-shaped tins. Lingerie goes red and lacy. Chocolate appears in every size, shape and form that you can imagine, flanked by flowers, plastic and real.
It’s Valentine’s Day.
If you’re in a loving relationship life is great. You may not even pay much attention to Valentines. When you’re love life isn’t going so well, however, the knowledge that you’re not the object of affection can be a little daunting. If you’re in a post breakup phase the loss of your love may feel even more acute than you could imagine. Here are some great suggestions for what you can to do show love to that person that you haven’t met yet – or haven’t connected with yet – for the promise of being your best in the days to come. After all, the real love begins with and in you.
- Know who you are. The truth begins with right self-love. Take out a sheet of clean paper and make a list of the things that you appreciate about being yourself. Be truthful, but kind. I realize that it’s often easier to point out the bad stuff when you are feeling down. Consider investing in a Tony Robbins relationship series, or reading texts like “Boundaries” by Cloud and Townsend. Know about yourself, how you grow and what your core values really are. What about you is a “must do?” If it isn’t part of your life, you’ll spend your life unfulfilled. What are your dreams, hope and aspirations? Take time to learn who you are and why you do what you do. Are you employing self defeating behaviors? Having the same relationship over and over with a different person? Coming from a place where you were locked in a long term, stagnant relationship? Newly single? Consider your context, and how that might change in the next few months as you really focus time on getting to know the healthiest version of yourself. I started with Robbin’s 7 Day program on CD, and found it life changing.
- Chose to change your state. Changing your state is going from being anxious, nervous, unsettled or angry to a place of peace and calm internally. It may not be because a situation has changed, but how your perception of it has changed. It begins by being thankful for the positive parts of being you in the universe. What is your internal script? What does your body language say? Are you eating whole foods, drinking clean water? Get up and move. Consider your list of good things in your head like affirmations. Say “I’m getting better every day, in every way, and I am grateful that I am …” Fill in the last word with a word off your list. Conversely, look yourself in the eyes in the mirror and tell yourself that you’re worthwhile. It’s tough to do at first – but you have to believe it in order that you might show it in your life. You do not have to be perfect, just be yourself. You are, after all, the only you in the whole of the universe.
- Make a Mate-list. So you want to be in love. Before you meet the next person in the checkout line or on a blind date, think seriously about what you really want in a mate. Before you think this is easy, really consider what kind of person you want to love. The point here is not a list, but to break patterns of unsuccessful relationships. Look for the real qualities that you want in a person. Imagine the reality of your world the way that you desire and deserve it to be. Here is a caution: don’t imagine a specific person, especially a former flame. The exercise is to know what you need, not to mentally convince yourself that you can’t live without a specific person. Stop reacting to people who you meet: plan criteria to acknowledge people you meet against the template of what you know you need.
- Suggestions for Listing. You might have to begin by making a list of what is absolutely out, things that have real meaning in your world. My (former) personal list? I want a person with faith that is open, trusting. I need someone with energy and intensity, who sought adventure in strange places (e.g. hiking Everest , diving the Great Barrier Reef. Both are must try in my book.) I love romance, and like to travel, love good wine and hunting through bookstores. I love the idea of Bora Bora, and fully plan to spend time there. I am highly intense physically, and need a person that has a strong, passionate physical desire for me. I like physical fitness, and working out. My list included things like education, desire for culture and adventure – they were the things that made a man perfect for my own patterns, things that are core values for me. The other side of the list included “absolutely not.” I don’t want a person that can’t be a decent parent – and all that kids bring in life. I need someone emotionally stable and thoughtful. Even “in love” I won’t stay with a person that lies to themselves or me, quits when the going gets tough or takes the easy, safe way in life. I respect people who make tough decisions and talk to you face to face when times are tough. If I chose to violate any of these concepts, I also chose a life of compromise that won’t be fulfilling. I can make lots of changes like learning to love to play golf, even though I am really bad at it – but I cannot change the real core of who I am. Where some women may write a list that includes looks, money or prestige mine focuses on the person inside and the desire to live in an extraordinary way. My main requirement was a person with enough vision to help me discover my own talents and gifts, then to actually execute them. It requires courage to take chances, risks that may not pan out. This to me is important to living a whole existence.
- Make A Change. Now that you’ve made a thoughtful list of both the do and don’t want items in a person, commit it to memory. Consider it, reason it out, know it. It may sound calculating. It may sound cold. It is, however, very truthful. You have to imagine your success in this arena, imagine that you’ll build a relationship on truthful foundations. I recently told a couple that asked if marital counseling was important that it was impossible to counsel those that were temporarily insane. Of the married people who I know some are truly connected and happy with more than a decade of life. It’s common for children to appear in that difficult six or seventh year stretch. Some couples are simply together because they have children and a common life that is too difficult to disengage but few similar likes and interests. Those folks are the most passive aggressive in their unhappiness. The newlyweds are often insane with their happiness, which more often than not falls into a calmer state within the first two years of their union. The mad passionate love that people fall into is not necessarily doomed to go cold and quiet, but the love that sustains over years does take time and like needs to develop. Decide early in that you are committed to waiting to marry a person that will actually be there for the rest of your life, but begin by being the person that you envision so that you attract the type of person that you want to spend life with.
After the holiday passes, all those extra bears and chocolates will go on sale or be shipped away just in time for the St. Patrick’s Day tokens and April’s Easter Bunnies to arrive. Remember that as you think about this one day – it is one day. You’re concentration focus remains on healthiest version of yourself, loving yourself, each day of your life. It’s in your best interest to unlearn negative scripts from your past, self defeating behaviors that harm your relationships and self. This isn’t impacted by the retail season. All props aside, there is no secret to making the “right” person fall in love with you. Be hopeful, reasonable and rationale about what you want in life. This is going to make the hunt for the right mate statistically better than, say, bar hopping. When you know that you really want to engage with someone that shares your passion for art and literature, you’re probably going to realize that you stand a better chance finding them at the museum than the local dance club. Where you spend your time influences who you will meet and how. It’s people you come in contact with most often that you could have the most in common with.
Even though Valentine’s Day puts a lot of pressure on those that aren’t in love, don’t despair. Having been both single and married on this day I can tell you from experience that it is not the holiday that creates a unique moment, but the intentionality of showing consistent and truthful love to a person you highly value. Be willing to walk it through slowly and make healthy choices that will last a lifetime.