Let love reign! Photo: Thinkstock.
By Aura Walker MA CHt
I bet some are dreading Valentine’s Day, and others already have their outfits lined up. Is it a Hallmark holiday? Yes, absolutely. It is. Does it generate revenue for the candy, greeting card, restaurant, clothing retail, makeup, perfume, and jewelry industries? Yes, it does. Should you wait with bated breath to get some extravagant gift? No, no you should not! Should you plan to do something nice with your committed relationship partner? i.e. husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, life partner? Yes, yes you probably should. No matter how commercial, it symbolizes sweetness, love, and fun. It is meant to be a light-hearted, fun day. And lord knows we all need more of that! So, suck it up, have fun, show your love! Wear your love like heaven!
How do you prepare? A good neutral way of asking if your loved one is on the same page, is “So, what are we doing for Valentine’s Day?” Get a feel for where they are. If they are glum and “bah humbug” about it, determine what you like to do for yourself. Would you like to create a nice meal for the two of you, anyway? Or would you rather ditch the day? Or would you rather make other plans with single friends?
The main thing to keep in mind is that there is a lot of social pressure on people to have a fabulous Valentine’s Day. The unsaid message interpreted by some is that if you don’t, or if you are single, somehow you are a “loser.” Not the case!
For those who lament being single, ask yourself, “do I really want to be in a serious relationship?” Whether the answer is yes or no, I still have the same advice; work on loving and being kind to yourself. As you are kinder and gentler to yourself, so too shall that be apparent to others. As you become more comfortable in your own skin, others will notice your self-confidence. And that is attractive.
By comfortable, I don’t mean; be a slob or have no care about your appearance. Do care about your appearance and make yourself look the best you can to feel good and comfortable with yourself out and about. When you feel good and look good, that is reflected and looks good out in the world too. When I say look good. I do not mean; make yourself look artificial! Nor, for the guys; wear an Armani suit every day.
In fact, loving, available, heartfelt men prefer naturally pretty women, without too much makeup, and some jewelry. They prefer a blouse or dress that shows off a woman’s neck or shoulders. With a reasonable skirt hem, or well-fitted jeans or pants on the bottom half. The shoes often don’t matter, as long as they are in good shape. Clean nails are a must! They do not have to be long or painted. Guys often don’t care much about nail polish. They do prefer a well kept, clean appearance. We all do!
Women prefer men who are well groomed, even if they have long hair and beards. Keep that shiz trimmed and washed. No one wants to kiss a hairy guy and find a piece of pickle hiding in his face bush! Women like men who wear clean clothes, clean shoes, smell good, and who do not mind taking a girl out on a date.
In hetero relationships, it is important for men to pay for dates (most of the time) because it is the dynamic of courting and romance. As well as, male vs. female, polarity in action. While dating, if a woman takes over arranging and paying for dates too early, I guarantee you, most masculine men will feel they have no purpose on the date; that they are just secondary and along for the ride. Masculine men like to feel they have a purpose, so arranging a date and paying for it gives them that sense of purpose. Some people may scream and yell, about my take on masculine and feminine energy. So what? Scream and yell. I’ve done the research. It is true!
Women are huge multi-taskers and do twice as many small tasks in a day than men. We are just wired that way. So, to have a man take charge feels like a treat for many women. Perhaps not the more controlling ones. But yes, many women enjoy men planning and taking them out on dates. It makes many hetero women feel cared for and nurtured.
That is not to say that women can’t surprise a guy and offer to pay once in a while. Once the relationship gets serious, it is definitely a nice thing to reciprocate. In a serious relationship, men actually appreciate when their female partner offers to share costs. Because let’s face it, life is expensive and any working guy doesn’t mind a bit of reciprocation. Give it three months of exclusive, I’m-simply-mad-about-you dating. Before the “are we serious yet?” talk.
Going back to feeling a sense of self-confidence; what I mean by this, is not having an over inflated ego, bravado or being “bragadocious.” No! Being self-confident means that you are fully present in your body and you know what is good for you body, mind, and spirit. No matter how cute, charming or rich someone else is (and for adults, no matter how good in bed someone is); never compromise your own well-being, self-esteem, or self-respect for anyone else. Not a child, not a family member, and not the person you are in love with. Because the minute you degrade your sense of self or self-respect for anyone else you are no good to yourself, or anyone else. You are broken and must refocus to recover yourself and heal. Only once you feel whole and healthy are you ready to be fully present and loved by another.
What I mean by “being loved” is that when you state your needs, they are heard and met. Even with children. If a child is too young to know their limits, of course, that is a different story. It is never too early to teach gentle boundaries to children. Let your “no” be “No.” And let the “no’s” be serious, and happen only about 10% of the time. The rest of the time? Let your “yeses” be happy and cooperative, and celebrate every little accomplishment. Life is a big learning curve. Each day, children make accomplishments that deserve big “yeses.” Healthy praise too! A hug, a high five, a healthy snack. A trip to the playground, or a playful activity. Why am I addressing boundaries with children in a piece on Valentine’s Day? Because many people have children, and they should be up there as the non-romantic loves of our lives.
But, again, the adults are in charge and if you can have some adult, romantic fun with your spouse or partner, or date, do it! If you find yourself alone with your kids, make that fun too! The operative word is, try to have some light-hearted fun. No matter what your situation. For those without children, if you plan on having kids take note. And for those who do not plan to have children, love, love, love yourself in the most gentle, warm, nurturing way possible. As you do this, love will appear all around you. And, if your smile or mirth is met with a scowl? Blow that person a kiss and keep moving on forward. They are not there yet, and it is not your job to drag them along unwillingly.
I hope you enjoy your Valentine’s Day! If it is a day of loss or mourning, just be good to yourself and be gentle. It will help. Let love reign!
Aura Walker is a seasoned mental health counselor and holistic health expert. She specializes in the use of hypnotherapy for rapid healing in short term care. Write to her, and she may feature your question or problem in her Yo! Venice column: “Ask a Hip Hypnotherapist.”