By Alecia Rice
Q: My girlfriend always seems disappointed on Valentine’s Day. I can’t seem to do anything right which makes me feel like a failure. How do I change this dynamic? — Bittersweet Boyfriend
A: Dear Bittersweet Boyfriend,
Let’s be honest. Corporations and advertisers have artificially manufactured this holiday of “love.” They’ve cast a spell on us. Is it a coincidence that we collectively know the Valentine’s formula and can spout it out? It’s the delivery of the assumptive pre-packaged recipe of flowers, candy and card…at the very least. We’re all bitten by the spell, yet males seem to feel an inordinate amount of pressure to get this day right, especially when contrasted by a woman’s unspoken expectations.
Valentine’s Day should be more about presence than presents. Good quality
time spent together is much more important than gifts given. The concept that we’re supposed to bundle all of our love up into one special day by purchasing something that proves to ourselves and others how much we love our partner is commercial manipulation of the highest order. Like most other holidays, we’ve been set up in an unconscious trap, which can be very difficult to escape because it supposedly speaks to the value of our relationship partner. This spell can only be broken by couples who choose to consciously step out of the programming to engage in honest conversation about what’s really important and what needs we really want to be met.
I encourage couples to extricate themselves from the commercialism of the holiday by planning instead on nurturing presence and connection, which is where the love initially sprouted and grew. Honesty, presence and good
communication are what creates the true bonds of love which deepens the roots of our trust in one another. These are things of substance which last long after the candy has been eaten and the flowers have wilted. Nothing is more crucial in love than deepening our understanding of and trust in one another.
Women crave connection and good quality conversation. This breeds intimacy which is what love is really about. When we step outside of the spell, I think what most are actually seeking is an affirmation that their mate is happy and that they are deeply loved and valued.
I encourage couples to make this Valentine’s Day really special by approaching their partner with the suggestion that it be used for presence and connection instead of the obligatory gift exchange. This holiday is much better utilized with the intention of checking in with each other on the health and balance of the relationship. Consider doing something romantic, like sitting by a fire with a glass of wine while engaging in a nice discussion about your relationship. Reminisce about what attracted you to each other in the beginning. Share gratitude about what you love about the relationship now, especially feelings that you may not usually take the time to share. Follow up with personal questions and honest answers that help you better understand one another while renewing your commitment to co-create a life that’s fulfilling to both. Share what’s working and what could be even better. Talk about changes you can make that will enhance and strengthen your life together.
Intentionally break out of the box to create a unique day that’s deeply meaningful to you that you both actually look forward to sharing. It’s fine to create
a token of your love with a tradition. Maybe that’s doing something special the same way each year, like you showing up with that same favorite bottle of wine which symbolizes that you intend to talk and spend intimate time together.
Q: My friend gives me gifts all the time, yet I have to argue with her to take gifts from me. How do I end these struggles which dilute some of the joy of gift-giving? — Diluted Joy
A: Diluted Joy,
Giving and receiving is a cycle that’s really best when completed fairly equally. It’s important to remember that to be a giver there must also be a receiver. Both energies exist on the same continuum so one can’t exist without the other. It’s also vital to give unconditionally while receiving with gratitude. When I find myself in such situations, I gently mention it. I’ve told people that denying acceptance of my gift robs me of the gift of joy I receive when I give to them. Givers generally understand this because they know how good it feels to give. Once they realize this, most don’t want to deny me this gift so they’ll gratefully accept with a hearty “Thank you!”
Alecia Rice integrates higher concepts with wisdom to bring forth balance, perspective, and clarity. She’s a personal advisor, speaker, and gatherer of women. For perspective on life issues, you’re invited to text questions and comments to 681-321-1109. Discussions continue at Ask Alecia on Facebook.