Valentine’s Day is the day for lovers. It’s the day when happy couples celebrate, and lots of couples pretend; while singles and people in bad relationships can feel pretty sorry for themselves. It can be the perfect opportunity for a “Pity Party”. Unfortunately, Pity Parties are the loneliest parties in the world. Not only do they make you feel worse, they also keep you stuck exactly where you are. If you would like an alternative to your own Private Pity Party read on.
- Do NOT read the romantic Valentine’s cards. If you have to buy one for your partner in an ailing relationship, grab the first one you find that is either funny or has very few words. That is good enough. If you do not have to buy one, then do not even think of looking at then. They simply are not relevant to you, this year.
- Don’t compare yourself to other people. So, you’re in a relationship that isn’t working well. There can be a great temptation to look at other people’s relationships and feel even worse about your own. Only do that if your Private Pity Party is not lonely enough already.
- Don’t tell yourself your story. Telling yourself that your partner is a heartless brute will only make you feel worse. He has stopped trying to please you, and you have given up on yourself. That’s the situation in the here and now. All that happened to contribute to that is sad and/or awful. But, you already know it. You’ve lived it. You don’t need reminding.
- Don’t dwell on how much more awful this Valentine’s Day feels than last Valentine’s day. Maybe it’s true, and maybe that is what you said last year. Either way, that attitude stops you focusing on what is working in your life – or what you need to do to get things working in your life.
- Don’t fantasize about how awful next Valentine’s Day will be, because you will still be stuck in the same old misery with the same bad partner – or else, even worse, you will be alone. First, you clearly are not very good at predicting the future accurately, or you would not have hooked up with your bad partner in the first place. Second, it is that kind of attitude that will blind you to the action you need to take to ensure that next year will be better.
- Don’t fixate on having a relationship. Nobody is publicizing this on Valentine’s day – because it ain’t commercial – but you don’t have to be in a relationship to be happy. Stop thinking of a loving relationship as the inalienable right for everyone else but you; and start thinking of it as the icing on the cake. Think, instead, about the cake. What can you do to make that cake as toothsome as possible? You wouldn’t hand someone a polystyrene block that had been iced and expect them to enjoy eating. So why would you expect someone else to enjoy being with a person who believes he/she is only fit for the scrap heap?
- Don’t sit at home feeling miserable. You have choices, get out, see people, watch a movie or, if you can’t do that, at least play music, or watch a DVD, that lifts your spirits.
- Don’t overdose on chocolate, or alcohol. It will only make you more miserable the next day, because then you can bring to your Pity Party your concerns about your weight, your alcohol consumption, or your hangover, as a result.
- Don’t watch a romantic movie. That will make you even more miserable than the chocolate. The sight of all these beautiful, slim, airbrushed, rich – or soon to be rich – people will depress you still further.
- Don’t phone a miserable friend. Misery loves company. But if you speak to someone who is as miserable as you are then you will both end up more miserable as a result. Think of it as a simple sum: their misery + your misery = greater, longer lasting misery. Instead, turn your attention to something or someone that inspires you. Read something inspirational, listen to an inspirational DVD, or speak to someone whose positive approach leaves you feeling better.
If you are not going to be a Valentine’s Day martyr you need to be quite clear: it’s sink or swim time. Stay becalmed in the treacherous waters of misery much longer, and you will drown. But you have only to take the first constructive small step to feeling a more positive emotion and you will soon learn to swim. Martyrs are a dead weight. Swimmers are buoyant.
Make Valentine’s Day the day that you kick the martyr habit.
Still not convinced?
Ok. So, here’s the thing. Martyrs tell themselves that at least they aren’t needy; they can go without pretty much everything. But they really, really want all the things they believe that they can never have. What this means is that you are nursing a belief about everything you can never have. How powerful is that?
Ask yourself, have all the people in all the world who are now in loving couples on Valentine’s Day always been one half of the same happy couple? Were any of them ever miserable and alone on Valentine’s Day? If they could make the shift from misery to happy coupledom, what’s really so different about you?
Let me invite you to entertain a new belief: “I can have everything I want, once I take off the martyr’s blinkers.”