How to Win at Valentine’s Day

First things first: I’m 40. I’m single. I’ve never been married. The last time I had a significant relationship on Valentine’s day was over 7 years ago and that was the first one since high school. With this said, I LOVE Valentine’s day,

Like, really love Valentine’s day.

I believe it is pretty easy to get caught up on Valentine’s day with missed or disappointing expectational outcomes. The guy we’re dating, buys us carnations with babies breath and a box of Russell Stover’s chocolates. The girl we’re dating totally forgets and doesn’t do a thing. Every restaurant we call has no reservations. The person we like, doesn’t do a thing. The girlfriend we were going to hang out with suddenly was asked out on a date by a long time crush and abandons our plans. Maybe, you really want to be in a relationship and Valentine’s day is a painful reminder that you’re not in one. Maybe you were in one and recently the relationship ended. I get it, Valentine’s day can be rough. But, when Valentine’s day is built solely upon the expectation of receiving validation, affection and being valued by others, the day will certainly disappoint.

Valentine’s day, like weddings, baby showers, Christmas and the like often come with a lot of emotional expectation. Because, somewhere along the way, holidays and moments that were created for the sake of the other, became holidays or moments about self and are used to measure one’s love quotient.

I chose very early on not to make Valentine’s about receiving, but about giving. Because of this, Valentine’s day has become one of my very favorite holidays. The way to win at Valentine’s Day is to make the day about others and not a litmus test revealing personal value. Take the intent of the day, the celebration of love and relationships, and celebrate love and relationships. Celebrate the lonely. Celebrate your friends. Take the opportunity to love with extravagance. Give with selfless intent. And, love well those around you. A 24 hour active love free for all, one might say.

We also win on Valentine’s day when we love our selves with that same bold and extravagant love. Treat yourself with great love all day. Speak truth and life over yourself all day. Love yourself as you would love others.

These two things, will set you up to win on Valentine’s day.

Here’s a brief list of practical ways to Win at Valentine’s Day with others:
1. Bake cookies for your neighbors
2. Buy a box of children’s valentines and carry them with you. Give them away to every clerk or sales person you encounter.
3. For your close circle of friends, text them the top 5 things you love about them.
4. Know someone who struggles with their relationship status? buy them flowers, send them a new favorite album over iTunes, gift them with a gift certificate to a restaurant or simply write them a sincerely sappy Valentine.
5. Take photos of your favorite barista, pastor, co-worker, family member and the like and post it on social media publicly honoring them and what they mean to you.
6. Deliver thank you notes to those who influence your life in a positive way, with a valentine.
7. Play secret valentine and drop off gifts for people in your life. Something small just to say they are seen and remembered.
8. write on the wall of 10 people you remember fondly and share the memory and what you learned from or appreciate about them.
9. Sing love medleys over the phone to your friends who are far away.
10. Actively remember people in the places you live, work and play with honor.

Winning at Valentine’s Day for yourself:
1. Start the day by eating breakfast with someone you care about.
2. Plan to do one thing that makes you feel incredibly alive.
3. Speak kindly to yourself all day.
4. Spend time with Jesus and allow His love for you to be the strongest message.
5. Be extravagant with yourself. Eat on your china, dress up, do your hair, and carry yourself all day like you are the best Valentine in the world!
6. Listen to your favorite playlist.
7. Dance in your car.
8. Treat yourself to things you wish someone would buy for you. Do you want flowers? Buy yourself flowers. Do you want candy? Buy your favorite candy. Do you want a handwritten note? Write yourself a note. (This all may sound a bit strange, but loving yourself takes time and effort and practice!)
9. Eat foods all day that you love.
10. Approach the day with gratitude.

Winning at Valentine’s day is attainable, when we reorient our thinking and approach the day with generosity towards self and others. On this note! I’m off, I have some baking to do and some notes to write and some flowers to buy. May your day be filled with extravagant love and playful expressions of generosity!

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