“I drank the Kool-Aid“
If you had asked me 15 years ago what Valentine’s Day meant to me, I would have gushed about decadent chocolates in a gilded bow-tied box and a beautiful card with majestic poetry; sweet nothings whispered over a candlelit dinner, and promises made in earnest to be together forever. Yes, I admit I drank the Kool aid, and it seems I am not the only one! According to a recent study, even though fewer Americans are celebrating Valentine’s Day, the average person spends $160 on candy, flowers, chocolates, and jewelry. It makes me wonder: how difficult can it be to tell our loved ones that we care? Do our words lack meaning? Are we unable to convey the way we truly feel? Or is it easier to have retailers do the talking for us while we do the spending? I wondered if there was a way to have valentines every day of the year.
Reality kicks in
Fast forward 15 years and I realize that the “head over heels, madly in love with you” cliché is nothing more than the plot of romantic movies churned out year after year to keep us wondering why we never had the perfect fairy tale! If there is one thing that I have learned, it is that we should never take anything for granted. (I lost my husband 8 years ago.) Sometimes we become so entrenched in our daily lives that it can be easy to lose sight of what is important. Too frequently, we neglect our loved ones. We do not call as often as we should. We forget to show love, kindness, and compassion to those closest to us, or to those who need it the most.
True meaning of love
Love can mean different things to different people, but having conditions should not be one of them. It was not always easy for me to accept my partner’s flaws. There were times when I questioned if he truly cared. No matter what he did, we always fought, and at times I wondered if we were going to make it through. Going through a rough patch can take its toll – not just on you – but on those around you, watching you wallow in self-pity and despair. It took me awhile to realize that it was time to stop airing my grievances to everybody. Instead, I needed to lay my soul bare and have a heart-to-heart conversation with my husband. Even though friends and family meant well, their advice often intensified conflict and pitted us against each other.
Eventually it dawned on us that we needed to become effective communicators. Our life coach encouraged us to open up to each other, and showed us meaningful ways to express our emotions and support. It was challenging at first, but we ploughed through, determined to make it work. It’s notoriously difficult to give each other the benefit of the doubt, and not take each other for granted – especially when life gets in the way. However, our sessions helped us to remain focused. The most important thing I learned, was that it really is a lifestyle change and the learning never stops. Finding a way to communicate is not easy. Maybe buying chocolates and flowers takes care of Valentine’s Day. But what about the rest of the year? What is your game plan then? How will YOU find unique, creative, and imaginative ways to nurture, cherish, and support each other?
The Game Plan
Being committed and working on your relationships is one way to show that you care – and make valentines every day of the year. This works for all relationships – not just romantic ones. If you’re looking for more inspiration, read through these fun links:
You can also contact Mission Addiction for coaching/counseling and other services for you and your loved ones.