Is Valentine’s Day Separating Us Instead Of Bringing Us Together?

Could the flowers, the cards and the roses be deluding us into believing Valentine’s Day is only about love?  When in fact it may be about the media taking control of us by making those who are single feel separate from those who are in relationships?

This is a slightly different slant on Valentine’s Day, and I intend for it to be thought-provoking.

A day for something special

Those who are in relationships feel the need to do something special even if they do nothing else for the other 364 days left in the year.  Those who are unhappily single feel worse because everyone around them seems to be loved up.  But my question is, who’s really orchestrating this?  Could it be that the commercials, signs in the windows and love-themed restaurant menus exclude those who are alone for a deeper reason?

No doubt about it; there is some form of separation going on during this day that perhaps not everyone thinks about.

A different version of events

It has long been known that the media likes to portray a certain slant on events to make people feel small and fearful.  The news, for example.  Without going into anything obvious here, long story short: it focuses on the negative.

Now, thinking about Valentine’s Day.  It is assumed by the adverts on television and radio that all the people listening are in the same situation.  It suggests that if you are not in a partnership, you have to be left out.

You’re alone? You don’t get to be included. You’re in love? Great! You’re going to have the most romantic day of your life.  It perpetuates the contrast between the blissfully happy couples and the lonely.

A little manipulation…

What if this day was just another form of control used by the media?  If so, is it really any different from separating the employed from the unemployed?  Any different from separating the rich from the poor?  The hungry versus the fed?  The healthy versus the overweight?

No, that can’t be true, you might think.  After all, nobody wants to believe they’re being manipulated or deceived.

But the subtle forms of control are obscure and difficult to see.  Those doing the manipulating don’t want you to figure out what they’re really doing.  That’s the whole thing with control: it’s all about wanting the power to make others feel inferior.

People are manipulated into spending twice as much money as they normally would at a restaurant because they went on a particular day. A day when everyone else is doing it.

Singles might feel twice as lonely or at the other extreme, determined to prove they are happy being single, that they don’t need love.  This is a deep denial of the truth, because we all need love.

Excited or not?

There are many who feel more pressure and stress than excitement on this day.  If there’s any emotion that should be encouraged, it should be joy – not sadness, loneliness or worthlessness.  Those negative emotions are the very feelings that make people feel powerless and excluded.  Out goes the motivation to change, and the cycle continues on.

Why not take that power back?

Here’s to a Valentine’s Day that includes everyone, and all forms of love.


How To Say “No” And Be Loved

Saying “no” can be difficult if fear or guilt comes up at the thought of saying it. It can be a fear of not being liked anymore by the other person. Or it could be fears that they will think you don’t like them. But saying yes to something that you do not want can create a drop in self-esteem, because you are not honouring your own needs. But you can say “no” and still love yourself and be loved.

Tell the truth.  Making up excuses for why you are saying “no” just leads to deceit, and most likely, the other person will be able to tell that you are not being completely truthful.  For example, if someone you are not very close to asks you to babysit for her over the weekend but you don’t want to because you planned to have a quiet weekend in, it might not be a good idea to say you’ll be away for the weekend. They might ask you how the trip went, and realise that you were untruthful. Even if you get away with it, it might set a habit of deceit in the future or make you feel guilty. Instead, it is better to tell the truth in a loving way, perhaps such as: “I’ve actually made plans this weekend, I’m afraid.” Or something similar you can think of that fits your situation. You don’t have to go into detail; the key is to be assertive and truthful.

An alternative you might want to use instead is “I would love to help, but I’m not available at that time.” You do not owe anyone an explanation – you have the right to decide how you spend your time. People respect those who occasionally say “no”, because someone who always says yes can sometimes come across as a bit of a pushover.

If you want to say “no” but you are available, and are finding it difficult to let the other person down, a simple way to answer is “I can’t help at the moment, I’m sorry.”  It’s important to be firm when saying this, otherwise you may be asked again to see if you will give in.

By saying “no” when you need to, you are saying “yes” to yourself. You are giving yourself love. You are honouring your needs first, which in the long run will be much more helpful to others, because you will be rejuvenated after you take the time to look after yourself. Doing things out of obligation leads to resentment, which will grow if you continue to ignore your needs.

Be discerning about when to say “no” – if your intuition is clearly telling you to, listen to it. Notice the feelings in your body as you contemplate your options. Follow what feels good to you.

Whip Worry Into Shape

Worry is a feeling that manifests when we fear that something will go wrong. We never worry something will go right – we worry because we fear the worst and feel no control over the outcome. It can manifest from factors we can clearly see, such as financial problems and bills left unpaid, but it can also occur purely from our own thoughts.

Despite the negative feeling that worry brings on, it can actually help you to figure things out in your mind so that you can plan effectively – so there is a benefit but only if you keep it to a minimum and then let the issue go. However, most of us don’t stop after the initial worrisome thought. The nature of the feeling is that the moment we think a fearful thought, more thoughts follow until before we know it, we are stressed and we start to feel physically ill. This is because excessive worry and stress releases the chemical adrenaline, which affects our digestive system. It can also cause headaches.

Sometimes worry can be confused with concern, but in fact they are separate things. Concern is when you think within the situation you are facing and are focused on the present moment. Worry is when you cannot relax because you are constantly stressing about what is about to happen, what could possibly happen. It is also personal to the individual and creates feelings of responsibility, as if you have a heavy weight on your shoulders. People may say to you, “Get over it” or “Just let it go, you’ll be fine,” but this rarely helps. It can actually make you feel worse, because it feels like no-one understands you and you are all alone – which is the opposite of what will make you feel better. So what do you do?

  • First, stop yourself. Whatever thought is stressing you out, tell yourself mentally to stop. Then, look at the situation as it stands. Identify what you fear the most and then write it down. If there is something else you fear, write that down too. Once you have the worries out of your head it will be easier to get some perspective and have a clearer head to think of solutions. Focusing on how you can sort out the issue is a much better way of dealing with things. You can even ask yourself, “what’s the worst that can happen?” and then once you have an answer, you can decide what to do to fix it.
  • Be clear about the facts. More often than not, things never turn out as bad as we expect them to in our heads. The mind loves to blow things out of proportion once the worrying cycle has started. Taking control of a situation takes away the bulk of the worry. If you are stressed about something that is yet to come, there is no point in worrying about it because it doesn’t solve anything if you are thinking in circles, coming up blank. Take the “what if” away, and try to imagine things going well. Having a sense of humour about the situation always helps too, so engage in some light-hearted fun with friends or family. Fun helps us realise what is important and what is not, and laughing will instantly make your mood soar. Having fun is one of the best ways to make worries vanish, if only temporarily. It will relax you, which allows solutions to come which you could never have thought of in the stressed mind-set.

Sometimes, nothing seems to work and you are stuck in the fear. This is when you must speak to somebody outside your situation. Ask a friend to listen to you, and then allow them to suggest solutions. Often talking it out with somebody is all we need. You may realise you have been worried over something that can easily be sorted. If not, you can perhaps start to figure out a clear plan to sort things out. If you can’t control the outcome at all, then the best thing to do is relax – worrying will drain you and it won’t solve the problem if it’s excessive. Take a walk, breathe deeply and let the worries float away. Go for a run or do another form of exercise and channel your fear into physical activity. Use your worry physically instead of emotionally. Often our thoughts travel so rapidly when we are stressed we feel anything but calm. This can lead to us feeling irritable and taking it out on others. But if you simply take the time to get some fresh air or get some wise advice from someone you trust, it can work wonders.

  • Decide not to fear the outcome. Decide to be calm. Although it may not seem like it at the time, worry is a choice. You can choose to stress over things or choose to stay calm and wait until you feel strongly about your next move. You can even choose a time of day and set that time aside to worry for five minutes, and then let it go for the rest of the day. You would be literally deciding “I’ll worry about it later”. This might prevent you from feeling fearful all the time, because you’ll have set aside a time to think. A little worry is fine, but too much is unhealthy both physically and emotionally. So make the decision to feel happy and say goodbye to the worry.

3 Ways to Find Your Ideal Path

Sometimes we can feel stuck in life, whether it be with a job we don’t like, a university course we’re struggling to commit to, or a lack of motivation and energy.  But there are ways we can overcome this, and find our ideal path that will make us happy not just temporarily, but also in the long-term.  Here are three simple ways to help you find the path that will provide you with the happiness and satisfaction you desire.

  1. Remember what you enjoyed as a child.

It can be easy for us to get so caught up in our day to day lives that we forget the things that brought us joy when we were children.  Choose one thing from your childhood that made you happy, be it painting, singing, making art or writing a story.  This simple activity may be the key to leading you to a hobby that could turn into a full-time career.  Too many of us are stuck in boring jobs that drain us of joy and energy, leaving us with no drive to achieve bigger goals.  By doing any activity that stirs your heart with joy, you’ll open up your mind to new ways of looking at life and start developing a more optimistic perspective, which will undoubtedly help you in many ways.

  1. Study a topic that fascinates you.

At school we are told to study many subjects that perhaps weren’t related to our passions.  Why not take some time to read up on a subject that really interests you? Not only will you feel good, you will also have something great to talk to people about, which may deepen friendships or create new ones.  Who knows?  Maybe studying that new topic will lead you to a new person who you would never have had anything in common with if you hadn’t studied that new subject.

  1. Make a healthy change.

If you’re feeling unsatisfied in life, something is wrong and action is necessary.  If there was one thing about your life you could change, what would it be?  The first thing that comes to mind is your answer.  Creating happiness for ourselves sometimes means coming out of our comfort zones and trying something totally new and exciting that others perhaps wouldn’t expect of us.  Yet this change doesn’t need to be huge or impressive, or driven by a motivation to please others.  This change should come from your heart; it should come from inside of you, not inflicted by some outside force or from an authority figure.  Be your own authority figure and don’t wait for some other person to make decisions for you.  Wouldn’t it feel so much better to rescue yourself and be an inspiration for others rather than sit and wait for life to come and find you?  Be that person that takes action, be that person who follows their dreams, be that person who waits for no one and strides forward with determination in their heart and stands up for themselves.  Others will be inspired by your example.