Here are some ways to increase your enjoyment of Valentine's Day.
It's heating up - lingerie, perfume and flower ads are flooding your email. The radio pumps out dining specials at various restaurants.
In San Antonio, where I live, it shares airtime with the rodeo, and my thoughts wander - I'll take my lover to the rodeo and kill two birds with one stone! Goodness, I think, do you "kill two birds with one stone" for a love holiday? And the rodeo isn't very romantic. This is becoming a bit of a chore. Anyway, why am I thinking of this? It's the man's job, isn't it?
I want to send my daughter-in-law flowers - red roses? No, that's romantic. Can't send her perfume ; my son is allergic to perfume. What will it be? Yellow roses? That always seems like too strong a "not" message. I think of the time a man I was dating sent me yellow roses. I read "These are NOT red roses. GET IT. He does NOT love you."
I feel sorry for men at this time, because the pressure is on.
In my ezine, I'm doing a series about love. One of my clients says, "Valentine's Day is really big for you, isn't it?" Well, yes, how could it not be? It's everywhere and it's pulling emotions around as it goes.
I receive an email from a client in response to an article I've written. "Thanks," she says. "Do you have any idea what its like to walk into an office and be the only one who hasn't gotten flowers?" (Yes I do, that's why I wrote the article.)
Valentine's Day can be very emotional, and a good time to practice our emotional intelligence skills.
The goal in emotional intelligence is management of emotions, experiencing them and putting them to good use, not controlling them. Remember that 2 of our 3 brains "don't take orders," which means you'll have feelings - some you like, some you don't; some you want, some you don't want. Remember, they're "just" feelings and let them float around and go their way. Choose carefully which ones you act on, and remember they need to be experienced, but not necessarily expressed. If expressed, be appropriate. Need to brush up on your EQ skills? The EQ Course©, on the Internet, is very helpful.
Resilience means how you bounce back after setbacks and disappointments, and there may be some for you this Valentine's Day. Maybe you're un-partnered on a day when all the world seems to be matched-up. Maybe your lover unwraps your gift and his or her face falls instead of lighting up. Maybe things are not the way you would prefer they be. Draw on past experiences - that's how we gain resilience. Good or bad, it will pass!
Intentionality means saying what you mean and meaning what you say, and staying focused long enough to make it happen.
Ask yourself as The Day approaches how you intend to experience it . Are you going to be in a bad mood because you don't have a honey this year? Are you going to refuse to be pleased by whatever your lover gets you? Are you going to chastise yourself when you feel jealousy or envy judging them "petty" emotions and telling yourself you "should know better"?
Or are you going to plan to enjoy your holiday for whatever it brings your way? Do you intend to overspend and feel guilty, or do you plan to establish your budget ahead of time and stick with it? Do you plan to indulge in impulse buys, or to plan ahead?
To be miserable or to be happy are two alternatives. What would an emotionally intelligent person do? He or she would experience all the emotions as they come and go - pain, joy, sorrow, delight - and having a Valentine's Day. Not all emotions need to be expressed, but they do need to be experienced.
Reserves apply to all areas of life - rest, health, money, people. And chaos applies to your best-laid plans. Expect the unexpected, and be surprised if things go right. You may miss the mark on the gift you choose. You may not get reservations at the place you'd prefer. You might even forget someone important, or even break up right before. Approach this holiday as you do them all - with reserves and resilience.
Perfectionism is a prescription for misery because we can't be pleased with ourselves or others. Remind yourself that your Valentine's Day doesn't have to be perfect, just "good enough."
If you can't find fresh raspberries for the special flambe, well move on to something else. Get some canned cherries and make Cherries Jubilee!
RELENTLESSLY & ADAMANTLY SELF-FORGIVING
One thing that is hard for perfectionists, and probably for all of us, is that sense of personal failure. If you'd shopped sooner maybe you'd have had time to drive all over town and find some fresh raspberries. But what would your emotional intelligence coach tell you? To be self-forgiving.
FLEXIBILITY & CREATIVITY
The hour has approached, you're ready to set the table and the red tablecloth is nowhere to be found. It's time to improvise. Make a flash run to the grocery for some pretty paper goods, or use no tablecloth at all. Turn down the lights, light the candles, and who will really notice? It's the people, not the tablecloth, that make the event.
Valentine's doesn't carry the load of Christmas, for instance, but it's a busy time - things to do, things to feel. Remember to stay in the present. Breathe. Use present-tense affirmations. Be joyful for its own sake: "I choose to enjoy this holiday, whatever it brings." Gently remind yourself to return to the present. Check in on your feelings. See, hear, feel, smell, taste, touch. Keep Valentine's Day in perspective. Talk it out with your coach to clear your brain. Everyone else will have their own issues.
Most importantly, love yourself on this Valentine's Day.
About the Author
Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach, GLOBAL EQ. Emotional intelligence coaching to enhance all areas of your life - career, relationships, midlife transition, resilience, self-esteem, parenting. EQ Alive! - excellent, accelerated, affordable EQ coach certification. Susan is the author of numerous ebooks, is widely published on the Internet, and a regular speaker for cruise lines. For marketing services go here.