How Should You Handle Valentines Day?

Valentine’s Day, for many people this is the one day of the year they either love or loathe depending on their relationship status. If you're single there’s often the pressure of, “Don’t worry, you’ll find the right person” There’s also often the expectation of settling into a relationship, getting married, buying a house, having kids and living happily ever after.

If you’re in a relationship there are the questions of, “So when are you two going to get married?” or “So when are you starting a family?”

Yet, human relationships are hardly ever so simple and the traditional view of what relationships should look like are being challenged, the societal norms of how life should progress for couples are being challenged, and rightly so.

I’m proposing a shift.

What if instead of just celebrating Valentine’s Day as a couple or a single person, we looked past the status of single or taken.

What would it look like if we cultivated an attitude of acceptance for where we are at right now?

Even better, what if we dropped our judgement of each other

What if we focused on the real cause of happiness? (Which is not being in a relationship or being single)

Maybe this Valentine ’s Day you don’t need or want a relationship and you are perfectly satisfied with the intimate connections you have among your family and friends. You may be completely content with being alone with a solid sense of who you are and what you want – High Five!

Maybe you’re in a committed relationship, married and have a family and your focus is on the family unit and the close relational ties you have developed – Awesome!

Maybe you’re not sure about what you want right now, hey, that’s OK too!

The thing is, you don’t need anyone to tell you what the “RIGHT” move is for you. Understand that when you hear another person’s judgement of where you’re at in your life, that this says more about them than it does about you. We all have our own unique way of being in this world and there is no one size fits all formula that we need to adhere to.  So here’s to ditching the “you should” and claiming what feels right.

Instead of focusing on our relationship status as a source of happiness or unhappiness, let’s examine what’s really going to make us happy in our relationships.

The Harvard happiness study tells us that regardless whether we are single or taken; it’s our overall social connections that matter. That’s right, it’s not about that one person, nor is it just about us. It’s also not the number of connections that we have, rather the quality of these connections and the level of support these interactions provide that play a part in our happiness levels.

So no matter where you are in your life this valentine’s day and whether or not your choose to be in an intimate relationship with another person or you're perfectly happy cultivating platonic friendships rather than romantic interests you can truly cultivate more happiness and love In your life by focusing on and continuing to nurture and develop the connections you do have.

Here are a few of my favourite ways to do this

Replace screen time with people time

Go out and try new things together with a loved one

Reach out to a someone you haven’t spoken to in years

Let go of past grudges you may still be carrying

Focus on your own personal well being and do something just for you

Work on building close relationships by finding people who share your values

Build a strong support system of key family and friends

And finally, a note for you

Honour and accept yourself fully. When we learn to drop the judgement on ourselves we can start valuing our choices and in turn develop a healthy sense of self-worth and appreciation for ourselves and others, and isn't that what a day of love is all about?

Natajsa Wagner is a Clinical Psychotherapist in Private Practice working with individuals, couples and groups. Natajsa is an advocate for authentic conversations that connect us. Natajsa believes that the relationship we have with ourselves and others is the essential ingredient to our emotional health, happiness and wellbeing.

Natajsa is passionate about speaking and teaching on the topic of moving from loneliness to belonging and the importance of human relationships. Her focus is on helping people develop self-awareness and understanding of our challenges, so we can create change that leads to more fulfilling and meaningful lives. Natajsa has been featured as an expert both locally and internationally and has contributed to a number of print and online media outlets including Women's Health and Fitness Magazine, Cosmopolitan Magazine & ABC Online.

You can find her:

Natajsa Wagner