Valentine’s Day is synonymous with romantic dinners, boxes of chocolate, and flowers. And it’s a big day! It’s estimated American’s will spend over 18.9 billion dollars on Valentine’s Day this year alone. But for some people Valentine’s Day isn’t romantic, loving or fun. It brings up painful or sad memories.
What do memories have to do with grief?
On the days leading up to Valentine’s Day there is stimulus everywhere. Valentine’s Day cards, balloons and chocolate fill store aisles. Advertisements for jewelry, flowers and romantic restaurants are in every magazine and on every website.
- Stimulus creates thoughts.
- Thoughts create feelings.
- Feelings can be either positive, negative or both.
Holidays are hard for many people because there are more stimuli to remind them of past losses. If the stimulus from Valentine’s Day brings up painful thoughts and feelings for you, then you might be experiencing unresolved grief.
What’s grief and how do I know if I have it?
- The conflicting feelings following the end of, or change in, a change of familiar pattern or behavior.
- The lost hopes, dreams, and expectations when a relationship changes or ends.
What if, since you were a child, your father sent you flowers every Valentine’s Day, but now he has Alzheimer’s, so isn’t able to? Isn’t that a change of a familiar pattern or behavior?
What if, after your last break up, you thought you’d find a boyfriend and finally have the perfect date for Valentine’s Day, but you’re still single? Isn’t that a hope, dream, or expectations that didn’t come to fruition?
What if, every Valentine’s Day you think about your ex-wife and miss planning romantic Valentine’s Day dates? Then realize you thought you’d be spending the holiday together for the rest of your lives? Isn’t that grief?
What to do if you feel sad on Valentines Day
- Be aware. If you notice you are out of the moment, thinking about the past, acknowledge it.
- Tell the truth about yourself. If you are sad, say so. Find a loving friend with whom you can share your honest feelings with.
- Get in the moment. After telling the truth about what is preoccupying your thoughts, see if you can get back in the moment by focusing on what is in front of you.
- Be honest. Ask yourself if there were things you wish would have ended different, better, or more. If so, you might be incomplete with the relationship you are thinking about. Until you get complete with that relationship you capacity for happiness will be limited.
- Ask for help.
If you are still suffering from painful feelings, consider joining us for one of our 90 Day Heal Your Heart Challenges.
Do you have more memories during the holidays? Let us know about your experiences in the comments!