valentines

Brace yourself, you know it’s coming


Hi. 

We have to talk about what’s just around the corner.   

It’s a struggle – often a bitter, painful one – even when we try to pretend we don’t care, or that we have a plan so everything will be fine.   

The warnings and posts and pronouncements have already started but you might be doing your best to ignore it. After all, you’ve survived it before and this year should ‘t be any worse, right? Except, after the past two years, it’s riskier than ever. 

What is it? 

Valentine’s Day. 

That’s right. The red heart holiday that has been forcing kids into heterosexist assumptions and socially awful awkwardness since the 1930’s (for real, I looked it up) could quite possibly be be the final mental health straw on our collective camel’s back in 2022.  

Look, I like chocolate, with an enthusiasm that borders on embarrassing. But seriously. We have to stop asking people to pretend they feel surrounded by love, perfectly paired off, or even capable of picking out a chalky candy heart to eat.  It’s too much at this moment. 

Even before the pandemic, research clearly demonstrated, a third of adults were apathetic at best about this holiday. It’s got some obvious problems for single folks. And there are memes and sitcoms galore to show us how it often goes sideways even for people deeply in love.  The ugly truth is that Valentine’s Day mostly feels like a stressor that people have to navigate. 

So this year, I may I gently suggest you think about yourself and those you love through this lens: “What do we each need from Valentine’s Day in order to feel safe?” 

No exaggeration – the stressor here is feeling unsafe. This holiday makes people ask themselves so many scary questions: 

  • Should I be in a relationship? 
  • Are my relationships like they “ought to be?” 
  • Does my person (or do my people) love me “enough?” 
  • Am I showing my person (or people) my love “enough?” 
  • What does all of this mean for my future???? 

Don’t get sucked in. Instead, maybe use this as a chance to simply tell the people you love the two things they really need to know: 

  1. That you love them 
  2. What you need. 

Knowing and expressing your own needs is something only you can do, and the other person can’t feel safe in your relationship – partner, parent, child, sibling, friend, whatever – if you don’t.  

What could you do to make yourself and someone you love feel safe this week? Comment and let me know!

All my best,

Dr. G

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