Traditionally, Valentine’s Day is a happy day. But for me, it was one of the most stressful days of the year.
Cupid’s sweet whisperings had given me certain expectations. Unfortunately, my partner wasn’t listening to the same sweet murmurings. So my Valentine’s Day was usually filled with a deeply felt embarrassment (and self-condemnation).
No matter how much I showered my beloved with cards and gifts – always unique and special – it was obvious I wanted the same coming back to me. The harder I tried to make him participate in the conventional ways (regardless of his obvious objection to Valentine’s overwhelming commercialism), the more he backed away from fulfilling my desires. And … the angrier I became.
For years, the obvious escaped me: an angry person is not that easy to love. I continually failed to change his mind (and behavior), and worse yet, he sometimes gave me what I wanted; but for the wrong reason. I wanted him to want to show the world his love for me.
So … card or no card, gift or no gift, special dinner or none, I felt cheated – and worse, unloved and unlovable.
My cynicism around the issue grew stronger. Until one day . . . I turned myself around and took a look at who I was demanding my sweetheart adore.
Facing that mirror was, I have to admit, an unpleasant experience. But it led me to a deeper understanding.
Demanding he showcase his love was driven by my fear of how I looked, to myself and others. I never noticed the feeling of love I was being offered, every day in countless ways, from this same person. It was sad to discover just how much I had missed receiving.
Nowadays, I’ve got a knack for how to love and appreciate myself – and in finding that, my need for others to perceive me as loveable has happily abated.
So on this Valentine’s day, I’m just going to enjoy the suspense of wondering if my current partner, my little Schnoodle dog of 9 years, is going to once again send me a big box of Godiva Chocolates with another of the sweetest love notes ever!
To this day, I have no idea who he gets to help him out in this endeavor, every year . . . but I thank them profusely. This expression of love is wonderful, and experiencing it in the form of such delicious chocolates is truly a joy.
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