The Montfort Group

Valentine’s Day – Heartache or Celebrate?

Valentine’s Day can be a tough one for many people – folks who are lonely because of a break up, a love lost or a love not yet found. A reminder of what one doesn’t have. It’s time for a reset.

I have mixed feelings about Valentine’s Day. My former husband told me that February 14th was a Hallmark marketing conspiracy in which he refused to be a participant. Then one year he thought better of it and brought home a dozen cookies on fake rose stems. Really?!

No, I was not a big fan of Valentine’s Day back then. It felt like a set up for false expectations and disappointment. A reminder that I wasn’t as important as I hoped; that the flowers, surprises or expressions of passion were not likely to come my way. It was just one more nail in the coffin of a distanced marriage that slowly burned itself out. The heartache was real.

Life changed. The anticipation of Valentine’s Day is not what it was so many years ago. I am now happily married to a guy who makes me feel special throughout the year. I don’t need it as evidence that I matter. It’s a day to have fun and keep things light; to express our appreciation and love for each other which we do many other days of the year too. 

The tradition of Valentine’s Day being for lovers is outdated. Perhaps this is where Hallmark and Zales have done us a gross disservice with their promises of diamonds and flowers.

Expressions of appreciation, thoughtfulness and love don’t have to be limited to February 14th. It seems to me that now, more than ever, we need to think about how often we express our love to people who are important to us: mothers, fathers, children, best friends, cherished colleagues, service providers, grandparents – anyone who enriches our life. We are reminded daily that life can change on a dime – the recent loss of Koby Bryant, the fires in Australia are just two examples – along with personal stories of regret that we didn’t tell someone what they meant to us. Write a note, make a phone call, send an invitation. 

Make it a day to celebrate all kinds of love!

Don’t forget yourself on Valentine’s Day! Self love is important. Acknowledge your strengths, what makes you special and if you’re not sure, ask someone you’re close to. It’s not an odd question. It’s often easier to tell someone else all that you appreciate about them while finding all the negatives about oneself. Turn off your critical voice and make a list of accomplishments – some of the smaller challenges you’ve overcome during the year, the new beginnings you started, the risks you took, the people you met and the joys you experienced. Remind yourself of the positives and celebrate what you love and appreciate about yourself. Buy some flowers, see your favorite movie, invite a friend for dinner but celebrate YOU!!

Valentine’s Day is not just for lovers anymore!

For more thoughts on Valentine’s Day:

Merely Human Love: Valentine’s Day Revisited

Valentine’s Day Isn’t Just For Couples

5 Tips For Getting Through Valentine’s Day When You Don’t Have A Valentine

10 Best Ways To Enjoy Valentine’s Day On Your Own

Laurie Poole, MS, LPC

Laurie Poole, MS, LPC

Laurie is a Licensed Professional Counselor with her Masters of Science in Counseling from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. She is also a graduate of McGill University in Montreal. She received advanced practical training in Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples and families at UT Southwestern, where she spent five years in the Department of Psychiatry’s Family Studies Clinic working with diverse clients of all ages. In addition, she has completed training in Collaborative Law for couples seeking divorce to find solutions in a more amicable way.

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