It's started - Valentines day presents advertised all over the media, cards filling up the supermarket shelves and teddy bears holding big red love hearts declaring 'you're special' or 'you're lovely' or 'you're sexy' at the tills.
I look at them and am reminded how I might have liked a teddy when I was 14. Since then, not so much.
Okay, I'll admit it - my name is Jane, and I hate Valentines day.
I hate Valentines day. Not because I'm the romantic equivalent of the grinch, but because it's just so CRASS!
I love love!
Love is a beautiful and joyous thing, but on Valentines day it is taken and turned into something naff. A commodity. It's beauty and joy tarnished and made cheap.
I am currently single, but that's not why I hate it either, I felt the same when in relationships.
I resent being told what to do! Why do I have to feel loved up TODAY, just because the media thinks I should? It feels false, and I don't do false.
I object to the naffness of 'romance by numbers', with guys turning up holding flowers and chocolates that took zero effort on their part to choose - I see you can order a dozen red roses online to be delivered for less than £20 at the click of a button. How very thoughtful, romantic and kind - NOT!
Romance to me is knowing someone so well you can choose the perfect present, plan the perfect date. It's personal, special, intimate.
I hate that Valentines day can make you feel bad about yourself.
You might be:
Valentines day just highlights any upset you have and magnifies it. Like Christmas - the fantasy of perfection which can only ever fall short for the majority of people.
If you're all loved up (and I hope you are!), have a fabulous time, get spoiled rotten and snog till your lips hurt :)
You know what? The key to happiness comes from within us, our happiness doesn't depend on another person. You and only you have the responsibility to care, love and respect yourself.
Also, real, enduring romantic love is rare, for most people only experienced maybe once, twice possibly three times in their life, and it turns up when it turns up. Not having met that person yet doesn't mean you aren't worthy, valuable, special or attractive.
Being single doesn't mean being alone, so use the money you'd normally fork out for a Valentines day gift to indulge yourself - it's a great excuse (not that you need one!).
Have a party, cook a meal or go out and have some fun, because laughter really is the best medicine!
Why not make the party theme RED, with red cocktails, red food, red clothes etc.
Have a 'Secret Cupid' game - like a secret Santa. Share dire dating stories and laugh till your sides hurt.
Share the love with your friends
You like flowers? Then get some, and enjoy.
You really like flowers? Get some every week/month. Lifes simple pleasures make a massive difference to how you feel about yourself so do something that makes you feel special every day.
Take a read of this post 'Being alone at Christmas' - and yes, I KNOW it's a Christmas blog, but it has some great ideas for pampering yourself.
Have a massage. Oh, and if you've ever wanted a massage but the thought of being baring your body freaked you out (yes, my hand is raised here!), then I urge you to check out this brilliant blog post 'What people really look like' written by a male massage therapist.
Maybe have a mani-pedi or a facial, pamper yourself a little. And if your budget won't stretch that far, a new lippy or nail varnish won't break the bank.
Escape into a film, or a book.
It really isn't unusual for people to go to the cinema on their own, so don't put it off, go enjoy that film you've been longing to see!
If the thought of going on your own brings you out on a cold sweat, grab a buddy, or hire something to watch at home - but go the whole hog, with mood lighting, candles, delicious nibbles and whatever else makes it a luxurious event.
Or buy that book, and immerse yourself into it
Visit a beautiful part of the country, and take in the sights. Visit the coast for some fresh sea air and a shot of vitamin D. Visit a museum, art gallery, exhibition, park. Visit a friend...whatever you want.
If you feel sad, grab a pen and write about it.
Vent, rant, whine - whatever you need to do, get it out and on paper. Expressing and acknowledging negative feelings is a very positive thing to do, even though it can feel difficult at the time. It's far more healthy than bottling it up.
Afterwards, be gentle with yourself and do something nurturing. It's ok to be sad. It's ok to be angry. Emotions are there to be experienced, so experience them.
Your feelings feel overwhelming? Yes, they can do but it's like a flood - overwhelming initially, but then the water subsides and things get back to normal. However, counsellors are specially trained to help you with this so get some extra help if you need too.
Do you hate Valentines day but I love love too? Then do it on your own terms.
Today is the day for you to step away from the ironing, and shut the door on the jobs that need doing to do something just for you, whatever makes you feel good. I've offered a few ideas above, but take a think, plan and indulge.
Take control this Valentines day. Acknowledge the bits that hurt, but make it a day of friends, laughter, pampering, luxury and self love.
Sod Cupid, make February 14th YOURS!
Hi, I'm Jane, and if you're the one that cares for and supports others, that gives and never takes and are exhausted because you put your own needs last, then you're in the right place. It's great to have you here - I hope you stick around!