I know, happy title, right? Excuse me while I get whiny, pretentious, and utterly self absorbed for a second. Valentines Day is a roller coaster holiday, when your young it’s all about candy and those badass boxes of Valentines you bought for your whole class with your favorite cartoon characters on them. Then, the older you get it is all about relationships and chocolates and flowers. When your single, it is a day filled with wine, chocolate, and self-loathing (I’m obviously generalizing here). And then you get into a relationship and this holiday is seemingly tasked with showing the sheer depth of your love and feelings for your significant other. That is a big order to fill, isn’t it?
Today is not Valentines Day, but it is all that anyone is talking about and it has about driven me insane. I am extremely lucky to be in a very happy and committed relationship with my boyfriend, Anthony. We celebrate Valentines Day-dinner, flowers, gifts-the normal stuff. So what do I have to complain about? Well the pressures and anxiety of this holiday still get to me even now that I have someone to spend it with.
As I walked through the office today, I couldn’t help but notice how many girls received flowers from their husbands/boyfriends. And I couldn’t ignore listening to the radio when a man surprised his wife (who is a teacher) by decorating her classroom and reading her a heartfelt poem, all on the radio. I mean the list goes on, but you get the picture.
Now if you’re thinking, cry me a river-I couldn’t agree with you more. I have a boyfriend who loves me and has dinner reservations set-up, I know I’ll probably receive flowers, and most notably he is going to take the day off of work on Monday to spend it with me. I am an extremely lucky girl. I don’t need flowers delivered to me at work or some grand gesture to prove that. So why do I feel the green monster of jealousy? I blame society and my own issues with anxiety.
On TV, radio, social media etc, this holiday turns into a one-up contest it seems. I see what all the stars who have millions do for their loved ones. I hear local people call into radio stations to profess their love, I see the flowers on on social media (I’m guilty of that too)-and I can’t help but feel, I’d love that kind of attention or gesture. My anxiety kicks in that maybe the ‘spark’ is gone, maybe he doesn’t care etc. Yes-I’m ashamed of these feelings.
In a related situation, we actually had a fight about Valentines Day this past weekend. We were at Target and he had been asking me what I wanted for the holiday and I had not told him anything. In my mind he should pick something he felt was romantic. I was in the electronics and did mention that I had been wanting a Fitbit, that was an idea. He got a little upset because a Fitbit was more than he was looking to spend, but he felt very pressured around days like Valentines Day because he knows how much they mean to me. And he knows that I go big on my gifts-he wasn’t wrong. Holidays are a big deal to me and I go above and beyond, sparing no expense. I never realized what kind of pressure that put on him.
I explained that to me it didn’t matter how much something cost, it was that time and effort to do something nice for me that was important. But the more I thought about it, I realized that I haven’t lived by that. By becoming jealous or comparing my own plans to others does not align with what I really want for Valentines Day (or any holiday). And what I want is to feel loved and appreciated, and no matter what he always makes me feel that way. Last year I received a gorgeous pair of earrings but what I loved more than that was that he made me chocolate covered strawberries-and he bought my favorite kind of chocolate to make them. The year before, he had bought me a name plate for my saddle and then bought me a pair of boots at Target that I randomly mentioned were cute. The fact that he remembered I liked the boos and went to get them meant so much. Our first year together he bought me DVDs of a season of Boy Meets World (my favorite show) and Backdraft (my favorite movie as a kid). Those meant so much because he bought me something that he knew I’d enjoy.
Sometimes it is difficult to remember these feelings when I’m watching bouquets of roses come through the front door for other girls, or seeing bragging posts on social media-but in reality- I wouldn’t trade Anthony or the way he shows his love for anything in the world. I think a lot of people have the same feelings I do on comparisons and pressure to feel like you are in the happiest relationship, and I’m here to tell you that I understand. I make it a new goal this year to stop comparing my own life to others and to be happy for what I have, which is pretty amazing.