I hate love- no one said ever. Yet Valentines Day is a day of mixed emotion, one in which many could do without. And the same goes in a middle school and high school.
Some teens experience pure bliss, collecting sweet candy and cards, bouquet of flowers from their boyfriend and crushes, or piles of candy grams from their squad. Others sit back anxiously wondering if they will even be acknowledged or noticed on the day of love. Feeling loved on February 14th is often a mixed bag.
Last year a 7th grader explained Valentines Day, a day that is supposed to be described as a day of love, as “the day of doom”. Considering experiences I have had as a school counselor on Valentines Day, I understand where he was coming from. Valentine’s day, while fun and eventful, leads to many meltdowns and tears. Take last year for example. A beautiful, talented, and academically driven 7th grader was walked down to my office after bursting in tears because her ex-boyfriend brought flowers and balloons to school for a girl who didn’t even attend the school. Another student was frustrated and about to punch the wall after a boy in her class took the chocolates she purchased for her crush and drew a penis on it (which btw is sexual harassment and completely not ok! It should be reported to an adult immediately!). Ugh! A high school student was upset because her girlfriend didn’t get her a gift like she purchased for her girlfriend.
Admittedly, Valentines Day is not a good day for many, but it doesn’t have to be a day of doom. With a little “mindset change” anybody can turn this Valentine’s Day into one they will love. Below I list some ways to make Valentine’s Day great! Pass this on to your friend that needs it.
- Love yourself. Make Valentines Day a day to focus on self-love or what you love about yourself. Teens often don’t give themselves enough love. Many teens struggle to answer what they love about themselves. Take some time to reflect what is good about you. Think about your character, details about your experiences, or actions you have taken that have made you love who you are. As an exercise write a list of some of the amazing qualities about you. Start with “I love myself because___” or write a love letter to yourself.
- Self-Care. Instead of focusing on who is going to treat you this Valentines Day beat them to the punch and treat yourself. Self-care is identifying your needs and then taking steps to meet these needs. Do you need to relax? Then take a bath with candles or an extra long shower. Do you need to be social? Plan a stay at home movie with your friends.
- Focus on gratitude. Don’t be a Grinch on Valentines Day. Leave that for Christmas. Stop yourself from negative thinking, complaining, or frustration when it comes to Valentines Day. Instead, focus on what you are thankful for. Focus on what is going well in your life. As an exercise write down three things you are grateful for and post in in a place where you can be reminded of all that you are blessed with. If your gratitude involves other people write a note to them letting them know how much your appreciate them.
- Be realistic. Be realistic about Valentine’s Day. During holidays, its human nature to set unrealistic expectations for others or expectations for how your day will go. Be careful about setting expectations for others that they cannot meet or that are not clear. If you actually want something from someone maybe ask for it. People aren’t mind readers!
- Take responsibility for your own happiness. You are responsible for your own happiness. You choose how you think about any situation that happens on Valentines Day. You can choose how you respond. If you focus on positive thinking and positive responses then happiness emotions are more likely to follow. Your happiness is in your control.
- Think about others. Boost someone else’s Valentines Day. I challenge you to think about others in your schools or workplaces, maybe the “underdog”, who could really use a boost. Write them a note, a card, back them cookies, or even say hello. And if you are the underdog, trust me you can make a large difference in someone’s day too.
- Be savvy about money. Focus on meaningful gifts. Valentines Day should not be about spending a lot of money. If you would like to give a gift to a friend or significant other focus on gifts that have non-monetary value. Instead of the $30 bouquet of flowers, create a playlist of the gift receiver’s (e.g. friend, significant others) favorite songs or change the lock screen in their phone to be a fun Valentines Day pictures. Write words with meaning such a note, letter, or card.
- Have fun. Make the day fun. And enjoy February 14th. Take it from a woman who spent many Galantines days on February 14th- just have fun!