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  • Writer's pictureDanielle Georgiou

The Valentines Day illusions and the impact this can have on your self worth


 

This is not a self-pity reflection-although it may begin sounding like that. I suspect this low key, low expectations of the largely hyped Valentines Day and the impact it can have on self and relationships, may resonate with many, especially women. It is a reminder that regardless of your relationship status, your feelings, experiences, and personal desires are more than valid. They are vital, on Valentine’s Day and every day.


 I have sat many a valentine feeling lonely, abandoned, and unworthy of feeling special or enough to feel like someone could love me enough to make me feel giddy with being their hearts desire. Most of the time when I have felt this way I have been in serious relationships or married. I have rarely experienced a nice surprise that has been created out of selfless gestures. I have not been showered with affection and bestowed with romantic gifts. I am not a materialistic person, don’t get me wrong a surprise or well thought gift is always well received, but for me it is about effort. It is about pre planning, knowing what someone likes, making playlists, discussing feelings, listening, and responding to personal desires, treating someone with respect and love so it is going to make their heart skip a beat and feel valued.


I found year after year it was always a one-sided effort, trying to create passion, making energy to make others feel special and wanted. However, year after year, all I ended up feeling on days to be celebrated, was deflated and unappreciated. Eventually I told myself that these things didn’t matter. It is the everyday routines that show your relationships are strong and worthy. Of course illusions of romantic gestures don't define a healthy relationship...Which of course to an extent is true…but after decades of the same explanations, the same conversations, the same dashed expectations… I started to lose my self-worth and my confidence. I told myself that I was too expectant, too delusional with what I wanted out of a relationship-IF I wasn’t happy, it was my fault and because I was buying into all the fairy-tale crap that is shoved down our throats from a young age and why would I deserve a fairy tale. I would start making excuses for others behaviour, whilst reassuring them that it didn’t matter that they again made no effort with me because we had other more important milestones to celebrate-if I pre planned, saved up, organised, booked, scheduled, arranged childcare, begged for them to take work leave etc. The mental workload on trying to create a ‘romantic date’ is a skill set, skills to make others happy.


To not feel so despondent, Valentines would become a family thing around my children-to make it about sharing love within our family. I would use these opportunities to have discussions around what gratitude, healthy relationships should look and feel like, whilst feeling like I was being fake knowing that’s not what they were necessarily witnessing. I often found ways to feel joy by giving them cards, buying little edible gifts, sneaking notes into lunchboxes, arranging cute after school activities or trips out, baking, and cooking specially prepared meals. Then often it would be a supermarket food meal deal for practical consumption for the adults in the evening.


Whilst I feel that Valentines has a generic and often corny vibe that is made to part people from money and to feed into a capitalist society, and often does invite more drama than romance from societal pressure, I think the gesture of telling someone how much you mean to them, and keeping a flame of passion alive and making feel someone feel special is important.


I would spend the weeks leading up to Valentines, daydreaming and scouring the internet for playful outfits or planning what I could wear if I were to be taken out. Searching for gifts to share, experiences, how I would make a cosy atmosphere, what candles and fragrance I could invoke to create ambience. What different things could I do to make this valentine feel different from the others. This just led to putting more pressure on myself and ultimately more disappointment. Then it would lead to feelings of guilt as I would scorn myself for feeling ungrateful and invalidating my relationships with these public diary days.


This is technically my first solo valentines day in 20+years, but the main thing that feels special about this year is that I have shown up for myself. I put the effort in. I treated myself to one of my favourite wines, snacks, ordered a new pair of earrings and a book. I will take time to reflect and let my feelings flow, even when they are making me feel sad. I will make time to adapt self-care and remind myself why I am solo this Valentine’s Day.


I choose to walk a different path, one where I am in control of my own happiness, one where I feel safe with myself, one I make decisions that elevate my life to a higher purpose. I know I am deserving of love, on Valentines Day and every day. But I will no longer settle for taking on the mental and emotional load so everyone else feels loved and valued. I will no longer adapt my expectations to excuse selfish and neglectful behaviours whose thoughts and actions show minimal effort for me.


 I am the captain of my own ship,…I will no longer let others board to be a passenger, enjoying the romanticized views and the first class service, without being a co-captain. I use my heart as my compass and my head as my sails, to navigate my journey and float away into the sunset, seeking calmer waters. I must continue to ride the waves on my own, until someone can prove that they value themselves and me, if not more, as I value myself-if not they can walk the plank into shark infested waters and drown with the weight and loss of not being welcome on my ship.


Happy Valentines Day,

Love, The Feminist Ambivert x



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