Expert Q&A: Create Your Own Valentine’s Day
Q: It's Valentine's Day, and I'm single and miserable. Is there anyway I can turn it around?
A: I don't know about you, but I'm really not very fond of those fake, business-driven holidays such as Mother's Day and Valentine's Day. (Okay. I admit, I do like Halloween because I love seeing all the tons of kids in my neighborhood dressed up. Even the teenagers make these amazing costumes.) But, overall, I wince at the spectacle of people in the card and candy aisles at CVS or Walgreen's after work on Valentine's Day. The desperation on their faces is worthy of a scene from a romantic comedy movie.
Yet, it's really hard to ignore totally the merchant assault on your soul. All those watches, men's cologne and ugly jewelry ads or emails about sending cheap-looking flowers in horridly cute pots truly can get to you-especially if you don't have a sweetie.
So, I thought I'd give you some ideas that will help you triumph over Valentine's Day and create sweeties of your own. The goal is to give love so you can get love-which, buried underneath all the sales for flowers, candy, earrings, ties and wallets is the true message. All the suggestions below can break through your loneliness, sadness and feelings of being disconnected in this big, wide world.
1. Make a list of all your close friends and send them free Valentine's Day e-cards. It's always a good idea to refresh your friends circle.
2. Make a list of friends you haven't contacted in months and years and send them a hello-style Valentine's Day card. If you can't find one that isn't too romantic or annoying, then just send a friend-card.
3. Call all your single friends and, as in the wonderful very merry un-birthday party in "Alice in Wonderland," have an un-Valentine's Day party. As a variation, ask each person to bring someone else who is alone or single. You could meet at your favorite gathering place or prepare some food to bring to a friend's house and hang out.
4. Make a list of relatives you'd like to reconnect with but haven't and send them a card or call them. Contact other relatives for their phone numbers, addresses or emails. This gesture is especially important. In your card or conversation with them talk about your favorite memories of them and ask them questions about your family. Holidays such as Valentine's Day are a great way to learn about your family history. Ask key people if they are willing to make a recording or video of them talking about the family.
5. Round up your friends and develop a plan for contributing to charity that day. For example, you could contact your local food bank and ask how you can help that day. You and your friends could each cook your favorite dish and bring them to the food bank. Or, you could send ahead of time all those little shampoo and body lotion bottles and other toiletries you've collected from hotels and cruises and arrange to send them to our armed forces troops in Afghanistan and other countries. Or, you could contact Habitat for Humanity or the Red Cross to find out how to send items to the earthquake survivors in Haiti or the Hurricane Katrina survivors in the Gulf Coast states. Or, you could contact the local nursing homes or children's cancer wards and find out what you all can do. Or, well, you get my point.
Giving and connecting are the best ways to overcome the Valentine's Day blues.
Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, ED.D., MSS is a noted psychologist and licensed clinical social worker, specializing in relationships. For her book about women and love, she welcomes women to take her 17-20 minute online research survey at www.lovevictory.com. Also on her website, if you donate $5 to Habitat for Humanity-Sarasota, Florida, you can receive a download of her relationship advice cartoon book for women, "The Love Adventures of Almost Smart Cookie." Follow Dr. Wish on Facebook, Twitter and Linked In.
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