I'm having a reflective moment about Valentine's Day today. I've loved this commercial "holiday" most of my life. I like the idea of setting aside a day devoted to love. I understand we shouldn't need a holiday to remind us to tell people how much we care about them, but it does bring attention and can serve as a reminder in this fast paced world of ours.

I liked when I was a child, my mom and grandmothers would celebrate by baking cookies with me and exchanging little presents, flowers, chocolates or a simple note. The time spent together and the exchange of little tokens to tell each other how we felt was nice. I also think it's special when there is a romantic interest in your life who is also interested in exchanging sentimental gifts, thoughts or expressions of love, but the holiday has never been exclusively about romantic relationships for me.

I'm not a therapist, but I know Valentine's Day can also be a catalyst for hurt, loneliness, feelings of exclusion and dashed hopeful expectations. I've been there. All of these feelings can be experienced even when you're PART of a romantic relationship. What I've learned is, it's lovely to give and receive gifts, but what has been most meaningful to me is to create something special for YOURSELF, regardless of the holiday.

Waiting for someone else to send you a gift or take you to dinner and feeling let down if it doesn't happen or you don't get the "right" gift is putting someone else in charge of your happiness and there's the tough part. Enjoy attention if it's offered to you and you want it, but creating your own holiday rituals for yourself can be really cool.

Please don't let a Hallmark holiday determine your value or capacity for love. We're all pretty great in our own way and just because we don't get a flower delivery or an invitation to dinner, doesn't mean we aren't special and lovable! I think as soon as we learn how to treat ourselves well and the special way we treated others, our outlook changes. Once we focus on how we want to feel and chose who you want to spend time with, we're in charge of the outcome. I must say it feels pretty great!

Again, I'm not a trained psychologist; just a woman who's lived on this planet a bit, but when you learn not to put someone else in control of your feelings there's very little chance you'll feel let down, lonely, and unloved. I wish I had learned the lesson much sooner and had not spent one second thinking I was somehow not worthy. Happy Valentine's Day to all of you! Do something special for yourselves no matter the day and know you’re loved.

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