this is how i initially felt about valentine's day this year :::
but, we covered a section in group about accepting reality as it is, because reality has causes, and we can't change the outcome of events. knowing that this was the skill i was supposed to work on leading up to valentine's day, i decided to practice radically accepting that i would be single on valentine's day AND not be angry about it, wish it away, or think my life should be different.
it took a lot of opposite action. at first i didn't want to do anything, i just wanted to feel sorry for myself. but in the end, that doesn't help me feel better. the thought quietly entered my mind that instead of viewing valentine's day as one for people "in love" i could view it as one "to love others." and that changed everything!
i decided to send out valentine's to people who i knew loved me, who might be feeling alone on this day, and to the special people in my life who make it worth living. that was a big step for me.
i also did a cope ahead where i planned what i would do that day to not wallow in sadness. i didn't want to be a third wheel on my parents' date so i decided i would buy myself flowers, get my nails done, order some chinese food, and watch a funny romantic comedy (just friends, 27 dresses, life as we know it, the killers, etc). i would be by myself but i wouldn't be unhappy. it would be a good day for me.
after i had made my plans my incredible friend c texted me and asked me if i wanted to be her valentine! i was so excited! her and her husband were celebrating early and so we made plans to go out to a yummy italian dinner and go see night at the museum at the dollar theater. best. plans. ever.
i did my hair and make-up (i know, fancy!) and we had an amazing time talking and laughing about life. it's so nice to have someone you can talk to about the serious and not so serious parts of life with.
my dad got me these cute owl glasses and chocolate :) my mom got me a sugar cookie and dove chocolate :) i got cards from my aunts with prizes in them - a new owl necklace, a gift card to panera bread, and a flower i don't have to water -- all of that = winning! i felt such love and connection to people on that day. i bought c some flowers and was going to buy myself some, but when my dad realized that's what i wanted he paid for mine :) he said, "i didn't know that's what you wanted or else i would've gotten you that." he also gave me money for dinner and said, "if a father can't treat his daughter to a valentine's dinner, what good is he?" i think that will stick with me forever.
i felt love, connection, peace, hope, and so many other positive emotions on valentine's day. in previous years it was a day i have dreaded, but making it not about me but others really changed the whole day for me. that, and god providing a way to shower me with love.
i realized that though i am single on valentine's day, i am not alone. and those two things are HUGE differences. there are so many people who are alone day in and day out. i have family, friends, extended family, and even strangers who love and pray for me. what more could i possibly ask for on a day of love then to feel connected to them?
one more realization hit me as dad and i were standing in line to get the flowers -- he can't read my mind. i just assumed he would know to get me flowers because i love them so much, but i don't think i've ever told him that. one of the dbt skills that i made up :) is ask for what you need. i needed flowers on valentine's day. but i didn't ask for them. luckily i had a back up plan so i wouldn't feel resentment in not getting them, but looking to the future it will be more skillful when i express what i need in advance so my parents, siblings, friends, and maybe one day spouse will not have to guess blindly at what i'm thinking.
it was a day of love and learning.