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By Donna Arp Weitzman
Valentine’s Day is the thorn in the side of every person who is single, unhappily coupled, unhappily married, or in the midst of dating a new round of duds. But it doesn’t have to be. Yes, Valentine’s Day is all about couples, commercially speaking. But you have the power to turn it into something else: A day to be your own Valentine. Actually, this is true for everyone—even those with a happy hand to hold on February 14.
Health care providers often encourage patients to use their birthday as a reminder to get their annual check-up. (Happy birthday to you, am I right?) I propose that we use February 14 as an annual reminder for an emotional health check; a time for you to stop and ask: Am I happy? It’s a scary question, which is why we don’t ask it enough.
6 steps to be your own Valentine
Whether you’re coupled, single, or it’s complicated this Valentine’s Day, try the following steps to be your own Valentine.
1. Take yourself out on a date.
If you have an obligatory partner and have to share the day with someone, fine. But find some time within the 24 hours of February 14 to take yourself out. It might something as simple as a quiet bubble bath, or it could be as extravagant as a three-course dinner—whichever you prefer. Use this time to assess yourself, your life, and your emotional well-being.
2. But don’t make it a pity fest.
This isn’t the time to beat yourself up about missed opportunities or overlooked soul mates. Go into your “date” with a progressive and proactive mindset. Ask yourself: Am I as happy as I could be? If the answer is no, don’t wallow in the waters of your misery. Instead, ask: What would make happy?
3. Find out what makes you happy.
Sounds obvious, but it isn’t necessarily as easy as it sounds. We’re so busy going about our day that we often don’t stop to think about the things that truly fill our hearts with joy.
4. Talk to friends.
Carve out a few minutes to check-in with your friends. What’s the emotional health of your friendships? Does your group need a night out?
5. Focus on you.
Women, in particular, have a tendency to put themselves last in the line of priorities. We overlook our own needs for the other people in our lives. Take this day to find out what you need to do for yourself, even if on a practical level. Make sure it’s something that’s about you, and only you.
6. Look at the hand you’re holding.
If you’re in a couple, make sure it’s the right one. Valentine’s Day can be a wake-up call. How do you know whether it’s “the right one”? Sometimes you just know, even if you don’t want to admit it, especially on a day like February 14. If you “just know” you’re not in the right place, don’t hang around for more red flags to fly. You deserve to be happy. Don’t settle for less.
Donna Arp Weitzman is a wife, mother, and businesswoman who enjoys writing and a good pair of Manolo Blahniks. Cinderella Has Cellulite: And Other Musings from a Last Wife is her first book. As a frequent public speaker, she enjoys making others laugh and opening their eyes to a new perspective on some of life’s most challenging experiences. Connect with Donna on Facebook.