~ Marilyn Sutherlund
February is here and Valentine’s Day is approaching. Are you wondering what you will get for Valentine’s Day? Or do you know that you won’t get anything?
Either way you answer the questions, you might be headed for disappointment! The definition of disappointment is: “the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations.”
In my book “Why did you load the dishwasher like that? 9 Whopping Mistakes that Push Love Away,” Ishare nine ways of being that are strategies to avoid hurt and fear. One of those Whopping Mistakes that can be at play on February 14th is being “The Disappointed One.”
When you are living from this Whopping Mistake, you have expectations for what your partner (or others) should do to show they love and care about you. Often, it’s some version of “If you love me, you will change for me.” If you want someone to change for you to love them, then do you really love them? Probably not. You might love the fantasy version of them but not their true self.
When you are in a relationship with someone, common expectations on Valentine’s Day are that they bring you your favorite flowers/candy, a romantic card, take you to dinner at a favorite (or maybe expensive) restaurant, or on a surprise getaway to somewhere romantic. You might hope for a special gift like an engagement ring or expensive jewelry. (Are you already disappointed thinking none of this will happen?)
Instead of you consciously creating a positive, pleasing experience, you are waiting for them to please you, which puts you in a victim role. And if by chance they give you what you want, then you’ll expect the same or more the next time.
Be Grateful for What You Receive!
When you expect something, unless you have fully communicated what you want, or if the other person happens to have ESP, it is quite likely that you won’t get what you expected. And even if you do tell them, they might not do it. It doesn’t mean they don’t care about you. They may have put thought into a different gift or experience. You can choose to be grateful for what you did receive instead of being disappointed about what you did not receive.
Your being disappointed can actively discourage your partner from trying to please you when you don’t appreciate their efforts! (When my efforts aren’t appreciated, I am less motivated to do more!)
What if you don’t have a partner? You can still have a lovely, nurturing evening IF you give up the expectation of a romantic evening. Otherwise, whatever you do–taking a bath, getting a massage, going to dinner with friends, reading a captivating book or binge-watching a favorite Netflix show with friends–will be a major disappointment. Give yourself a loving experience and be grateful for it!
What About the 364 Other Days of the Year? Is Celebrating Love only a 24-hour thing?
No, it’s not. So instead of waiting for that one day of romance and love, you need to figure out how to weave the best of Valentine’s Day into your life every day!
One way to do this is to learn and speak in your love languages with your partner and others. In the book “The Five Love Languages,” Dr. Gary Chapman wrote about five different ways people feel loved:
- Words of Affirmation (appreciate and acknowledge them)
- Giving a Gift (something they would like)
- Physical Touch (affection and, for your romantic partner, sensual and sexual)
- Acts of Service (doing something for them that you know they would like)
- Quality Time (just the two of you connecting, sharing an experience; not watching TV or out with others).
When you show love to someone in a way that matches their primary love language, they feel your love! If you give gifts because you like them, and your partner has a different love language, they will not feel the love when you give them a gift so give them what they want.
This link takes you to the couple’s quiz, and also one for singles, children and teens. If you are in a relationship, I recommend you both take the quiz. It just takes a few minutes–then share your results. Both my husband and I share the same love language–Acts of Service–but the specifics are different. Make this fun.
Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you have a great day, whatever that means to YOU. It’s up to you to make sure it’s great.
And Happy Every Other Day of the year where you give to and receive love from the people you care about!
Click here if you want to learn about Marilyn’s upcoming Effective Communication: Deeper Connection Course.