Valentine’s Day blues? Don’t worry, you are not alone
Unconditional love and endless passion are mostly figments of the imagination
Another Valentine’s Day rolling around and the most love you are likely to experience is from your neighbour’s friendly dog. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto
It is that time of year again. The time of year when we might yearn to have a love life made up of fantasy and romance. Everyone else seems to be geared up for a passion-filled night except you. And the chill wind of February doesn’t help.
Why is it, you ask yourself, that you are the only one who does not have a wonderful partner who fulfils your every need and then some?
Another Valentine’s Day and the most love you are likely to experience is from your neighbour’s friendly dog. You keep wondering what is wrong with you.
Well, the answer is that there is nothing wrong with you.
A psychiatrist once told me that half his patients come to him because they are not married. The other half come to him because they are.
Those who are not in ideal relationships (I don’t know anyone who is) too often lament the kind of relationships hyped up through films and novels and media outlets. Unconditional love, endless passion and porn-movie sex are mostly figments of the imaginations of scriptwriters, presenters and journalists.
Unfortunately, the outcome of the impressions created is to make the majority of the population feel inadequate when it comes to their relationships.
We tend to be very hard on ourselves, particularly around February 14th. Everyone else seems to be in receipt of cards and flowers except you.
We very readily discharge harsh criticism towards ourselves. This is a state of affairs that we must challenge.
The reality is, we would never criticise others in the way that we criticise ourselves. We seem to have no problem tearing strips off ourselves, which does us no favours and usually makes us feel worse. This has to stop and there is no better time to start than now. We need to create a kinder and more compassionate universe around ourselves. That voice in our head has to make some positive adjustments.
So what can you do to learn to love yourself and end destructive self-criticism?
Here are a few pointers:
Positivity: Start talking to yourself in a positive way. Compliment yourself on your achievements, no matter how small. Make the determination that from now on you are going to like, or even love, yourself.
Compliments: Graciously accept the compliments of others. Avoid the temptation to dismiss positive comments about you from others as lies or spoken because the person giving the compliment has ulterior motives.
Walk tall: “Fake it till you make it” means that if you act in a confident way, you will actually release chemicals in the brain that will reinforce your confident behaviour.
Look well, dress well: Make an effort every morning to leave the house looking and feeling like a million dollars. Throw out that “reliable” sweater that you have been wearing for years which makes you look 20 years older than you are. Generate the habit of and invest in looking well.
Pamper yourself: There are enough outlets attached to hotels and elsewhere to book into for a “me” day. If you can’t afford that, a candle-lit bath with some essential oils might do the trick. The important thing is to make the time to do it.
Develop a positive mantra: It can be as simple as “I am wonderful”. Because you are.
Live with gratitude: This is a message that is coming through from a number of gurus to whom I have been listening lately. If we take some time to reflect on what is good in our lives now, we are much less likely to become depressed by negative aspects. Write down three things that are good in your life each evening before bedtime. You’ll be amazed at the shift in your thinking.
Do something new: Join a yoga class. Enrol for an adult education course. Support a political party. Join a walking club. If you don’t have a pet, play with a neighbour’s pooch. You never know what will happen when you do something different.
Keep your energy: Gravitate towards the radiators and avoid the drains. Be around positive people and stay away from the ones who sap your energy. It’s that simple.
Help someone else: This will inevitably move you away from self-pity.
Regardless of your relationship status, don’t forget to love the most important person in your life.
That is you.