When Valentine’s Day comes around, I remember the year when I left a card shop, having mourned the fact I had no “honey” at the time, worried about whether I was spending too much or too little, whether I’d gotten it right or not, cursing Madison Avenue for the commercial thrust, and thinking of Valentine’s I should and should not have received in the past … the card shop owner called out , “Be careful out there, Susan. There are a lot of angry lovers on the road today.”
It’s coming, and it’s an emotional time. Here are ten ways to celebrate the day in an emotionally intelligent way.
1. Check in with your intentions.
Do you intend to let things upset you? Do you intend to compare the gift you receive with someone’s else? Do you intend to spend too much? Do you intend to be impossible to please, as nothing’s good enough for you?
2. Check your perfectionism at the door.
Nobody’s perfect, no occasion is perfect. It doesn’t have to be. Be willing to accept “good enough” and your emotions will smooth out.
3. Use your empathy.
If there’s someone who want to remember, take some time to think about what love means to them. It could be a power took would be appreciated, or something gushy or not gushy, or perfume, a new dress, a puppy, a gift certificate to Home Depot. It’s what means love to them, not you.
4. Use your intuition, it’s a lot surer than your intellect. Something inside you knows just what to get or just what to do; get in touch with it.
5. Experience and manage, don’t control.
Our emotions come unbidden and don’t care if they’re “justified” or not. Be willing to express them all – sadness, nostalgia, envy, anger. To deny one emotion is to push them all down, and cheapen your experience of life. It’s how you respond to emotions that counts.
Remember what you need to be doing in addition to Valentine’s Day. Put on the “blinders” and stick with it.
7. Get organized.
Make a list of whom you want to remember. Write down your budget. Start listing ideas. Remember there are tons of merchants out there you want to make it easy for you – use the phone and the Internet.
8. Be creative.
Expressing your love doesn’t necessarily mean spending money. You can write a poem or short story, give a gift-certificate for a Saturday afternoon or your time, write a gratitude note, take flowers from your own garden or something home-baked.
9. Emotional expression.
Do you intend to try and make someone guess what’s on your mind, or are you willing to express yourself. And hey, like the Dream Doctor says, “Be demanding.”
Valentine’s day falls on a Friday this year. That means you’ll be able to send last-minute floral arrangements, but that restaurants will be packed and sitters scarce. What else does it mean? Think ahead!
Valentine’s Day is coming, and it’s all yours to experience. Let it be in an emotionally intelligent way!