I have never been a fan of Valentine’s Day both when I was single and in a relationship. I will never forget the day when I discovered that this holiday was not for me. I was a teacher in Queens at the time and had just finished an especially exhausting day. It was cold and pouring rain out and I had to rush home to get all dressed up, because my very sweet boyfriend at the time had made reservations at Tavern On The Green. As I was sitting on the subway, looking like a drowned rat and trying to make myself feel romantic to match the night I was about to have, it hit me…I hate Valentines Day. I realized how forced it felt, like I had to be in a romantic mood this one night of the year because someone decided so. I also realized that my idea of romance is not packing myself into a crowded restaurant (although TOTG is big and beautiful) and getting a dozen red roses (I don’t particularly like red roses). After that I boycotted Valentine’s Day and refused to celebrate it, which lets be honest, most of my boyfriends loved. That is until I realized that it can be a beautiful holiday where we can show our love for ourselves and others if celebrated in a way that feels authentic to each individual. Now I love V-Day, because I know exactly how I like to spend it and I want everyone to feel the same way. So here is your guide to having a completely authentic and amazing Valentine’s Day whether you are single or committed.
Step 1: What is Romance?
First you need to figure out what your idea of romance is. What makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? Is it a cozy night in front of the fire with a movie, a massage, and some hot coco? Or does the idea of adventure and doing something that you have never done before get you in the mood for love? Maybe you love to move your body and a night out dancing or going to a yoga class is your idea of a great night. Or is it getting all dressed up and going out on the town with chocolates and red roses? Whatever it is that makes you feel romantic will be unique to you, so just take some time to really identify what that is.
Step 2: Set the Scene
The next step is to figure out what items would set a romantic and loving scene for you. What are your favorite flowers? Do you even like flowers? What kind of clothing would make you feel sexy? Maybe its something that is super soft and comfortable, or maybe its something tight and slinky. What kind of food makes you feel really good? Maybe its oysters and chocolate, maybe its a salad and veggies, or maybe its anything that is the color red. What kind of music sounds romantic or loving to you? Just take some time to think about all the things that signal love and romance for you.
Step 3: Love Accordingly
After you figure out what activities and items make you feel loving, you need to figure out what your love language is. If you haven’t read the book The Five Love Languages yet read it ASAP. You probably wont be able to do that before Valentine's Day so I will summarize it for you here. Basically the book suggests that there are five love languages that people speak when showing their love: acts of service, words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, and physical touch. So often we love others in our love language instead of theirs. However, if we really want to show the people in our lives that we love them, we have to do so in the love language that they speak. For example, if you love to give and receive gifts in relationships but your partner's love language is physical touch, you wont make him or her feel loved by buying them things. Instead you would have to show them that you love them by hugging them when they come in the door or rubbing their shoulders while you watch a movie. The same is also true for yourself. If you are going to love yourself correctly, you have to know how you want to be loved. Start by paying attention to how you show love to others which is often a clue to how you like to be loved. If you are still unsure what your love language is take the quiz here.
Step 4: 1+2+3= Love
The last step is to put it all together and create a night that fills your heart. Do the things from step one and three while incorporating the items from step two. If your single, your work is done. If your committed you will need to find out your partner’s answers to all of the above also. It is that easy to create a night that is authentically yours. For those of you who still need some more guidance, here are some suggestions:
~Gather a group of friends together, single or coupled it doesn't matter, and have a love infused dinner party. Have everyone bring a dish that makes them feel loving and an item to help decorate the table. While everyone is eating have each person name something that they love about themselves and about the person across from or next to them.
~Light a fire and make a cozy space in front of it with blankets and lots of pillows. Make a nice dinner or snack and have a picnic in front of the fire. If your coupled, give each other a massage or do a puzzle. If you are single give yourself a massage (look up self-massage techniques for some great tutorials) and you can still do the puzzle.
~Pack a change of clothes, some blankets, and some food in a cooler and drive to a remote area where you can see the stars and sleep in your car. You can even decorate your car with flowers and hearts or anything else from step 2. *Disclaimer: While I have done this on my own several times, I can not recommend anyone else to do this on their own as it can be dangerous.
~Go to an arcade, pool hall, or bowling alley and get competitive with a friend or your partner.
Whatever it is you decide to do, I hope you celebrate yourself and the ones you love in a way that is authentic to you. I would love to see what your Valenintine's Day looks like, so post a picture of how you celebrated and tag spirit society on instagram with #authenticVDay in the caption. I can't wait to see what you all have in store. Until then, have a very happy and love-filled Valentine's Day!