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Making Valentine’s Day Work for You: Experts Weigh In

Valentine’s Day is not all cards, candy, and flowers.

Depending on your perspective, it can be a source of joy, happiness, and satisfaction, or anguish and emotional pain. There are widely divergent views about Valentine’s Day and all the hoopla that goes with it, depending on your circumstances.

Some couples take advantage of the holiday to celebrate their relationship. Others take a matter-of-fact view, reasoning they should work to maintain their relationship every day of the year, not just on a specific date. Still others, many, but not all singles, view Valentine’s Day with disdain, perhaps feeling they are outside the mainstream because they are uncoupled.

Relationship expert and dating coach Kristi Price understands their cynicism. She is something of a cynic herself about it all. Price cites the pressure some feel to turn the day into something magical.

“I’m not in love with this holiday,” she said. “Every day of the year, you should be showing the person you love that you care about them and do nice things, not just one day a year.”

Price sees Valentine’s Day as an event fueled in large measure by greeting card companies, florists, and the like, not to mention social media.

“I think social media has blown it up,” Price said. “Before, we didn’t have all the reminders of Valentine’s Day. People are really pushing it. They want to get people in the door, and with social media and all that, there’s constant bombardment. But that’s why I call it a ‘Hallmark holiday.’”

Lauren Pilgenmayer is a life and relationship coach based in Delaware County.

“(Valentine’s Day) is a Hallmark holiday that’s kind of glamorized as this big thing with having love and flowers and chocolate,” she said. “And if you don’t have that, what does it mean? I think it’s a beautiful holiday, but it can be whatever you want it to be.”

Pilgernmayer says the holiday can be a catalyst for those seeking to make changes in their lives and perhaps find a relationship.

“It can just shine a light back to people in areas where they feel ‘Well, I don’t have someone’ or ‘I just broke open with someone’ or ‘I’m widowed,’” she said. “So, do you just survive it every year, or do you allow it to point to areas in your life where you can make a little shift? Why are you single? And what are you making it mean about yourself?”

Pilgenmayer encouraged people who are alone on Valentine’s Day not to be overly harsh on themselves.

“Maybe this is a time for me to say, ‘Why do I feel unlovable?’” she said. “’ How can I dive into myself a little bit more and have compassion?

“Because underneath a lot of everyday stuff is just wounding from our past.”

Price counsels those not in relationships to spend Valentine’s Day to set aside implied pressures of others, including greeting card companies, and spend the day engaged in activities they enjoy.

“Get together with friends and do something fun,” she advises. “If you like sporting events, or theater, or music, go to that. Have a spa day.

“Maybe just turn off your social media, stay at home and watch some movies, do some nice things for yourself, or have a party at your house.

“Anything that brings you joy or brings a smile to your face. Just try and shut your social media down. Social media tends to blow things up. Just do what feels good for you.”

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