Many people experience mixed emotions about Valentines Day because they allow their personal circumstances to dictate their responses to this celebration. Those without partners may feel reminded of their deep-seated beliefs that somehow their lives are not complete and Valentine's Day is thus met with depression and sense of lack. Those with partners are often influenced by external influences as to how their partners should act, for example red roses or other romantic gift. and they feel disappointed regardless of personal displays of affection by their partners. If the partner's display of affection is out of line with what media and social mores dictate, they can be left with disillusionment and questioning of their mate's commitment.

These examples highlight the costs involved when we allow our happiness and sense of well-being to be externally defined by external forces. Let's take the first scenario. Many people without partners spend a lot of time seeking a mate and feel that somehow their lives are incomplete. Valentine's Day becomes a reminder that another year has passed without their wish being fulfilled. However, this is a fantasy despite the undeniable possibilities for great fulfillment and joy to be gained by a healthy relationship. By deciding, in advance, what we think will make us happy, we doom ourselves to unhappiness until we acquire what we originally decided would satisfy us. It is a fantasy that 'the relationship' will bring such fulfillment. By the time a mate arrives, the internal image of perfection is so ingrained that little room exists for them to be seen as the unique individual they are; instead, they become no more than a projection of the seeker's own stereotypes.

The second scenario is closely linked to the first. Many people with partners become disillusioned on Valentine's Day because their partners don't act in accordance with their internal beliefs of what is appropriate displays of affection. A loving partner who genuinely values their partner may find themselves being criticized as unloving because they fall short of what the media, magazines or their mate's friends say is appropriate. For example they did not buy red roses, provide a romantic gift or even something as simple as an e card. This again points to the failure to see one's personal relationship as unique and special, with the unspoken rules of communication specific to them. By placing another human in the category 'intimate partner', 'spouse' or another other category, is to immediately run the risk of objectifying them rather than seeing them as the unique individual they are.

By rejecting society's norms and mores of how you should be in a relationship, you empower yourself to choose your life on your own terms,. You take an important step in taking responsibility for your life, your relationships and, as a result, no longer become disappointed with others in the same way. You may become disappointed with yourself because you have short-changed yourself in terms of how you choose to be treated, but the empowering fact of this different perspective, is that you get in touch with your real power. Instead of leaving your happiness to fate, external circumstances or the narrow constraints of those who believe there are fixed ways to live your life, you get to choose the value you place on other people's behavior.

It can be enormously liberating and rewarding once you see yourself and others as unique and special, rather than fixed and bounded by societal projections of normality.

Author's Bio: 

Clare Mann is a Counselling Psychologist in Sydney Australia who specialises in assisting people to remove the myths of limitation in their lives. She is the author of the "Myths of Life and The Choices We Have", an existential self-help book. Relationship Counselling Sydney