By Sid Madge, Meee
I have to confess that despite the focus of this article, I’m not a massive believer in the idea behind Valentine’s Day.
There are a couple of issues. First, if Valentine’s Day is the only day in the year when we demonstrate our love for our partner, then no personal insight, counselling or small intervention is going to save our relationship. Perhaps we should have an anti-Valentine’s Day where we are allowed to be a bit of a plank! It would be for just that one day we can be a little selfish and a little self-absorbed and do whatever we want without any drama. And the other 364 we make sure that we let our loved one know just how much we care and appreciate them. That might make more sense.
The second reason I’m unconvinced about Valentine’s Day for anyone except florists, chocolate and card manufacturers, is that it excludes all the people who are not in a relationship. Why should couples get all the chocolates, flowers and fun?
These questions have led me to focus on how to make this Valentine’s Day one to remember for anyone whatever their relationship status.
For me, it’s all about the power of ‘micro-moments’ – the ability to change our life in any moment and then to use these tiny manageable interventions to gain positive momentum.
Some of the suggestions below are pulled from my ‘Meee in a Minute’ books, each offering 60 one-minute micro-ideas and insights that can help us to shift our perception in life, family and at work. What can these mean for 14th February?
- Give ‘Hopen’ a chance
I decided to start 2021 by inventing a word. Shakespeare did it all the time, so why not! The word is ‘Hopen’. It’s a portmanteau or a word blending the sound and combining the meaning of two other words – in this case ‘hope’ and ‘open’.
The more I live the more I realise that it is our thinking that defines our lives and how happy or otherwise we are. If we are single and happy being single, then Valentine’s Day offers a great opportunity for some self-love and appreciation.
If we are single and miserable, or in relationship and unhappy then it’s more likely to be a painful reminder.
But whichever it is, is hugely influenced by what we choose to think about and focus on. We are all just energy and matter, and it’s our thinking (our energy) that propels us forward, or backwards, depending on our positivity or negativity.
So, let’s foster Hopen – hope for what is to come and open to whatever that might be and our ability to make that meaningful and positive. This is not always easy, life sucks sometimes and Covid is testing our resolve – but hope and openness will always help.
- Take onboard the maxim ‘know thyself’
Know thyself is one of the Delphic maxims which rings so true. Emotional Intelligence is also dependant on knowing oneself; self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, social skills and motivation.
Being able to create and maintain a positive relationship always starts with self. Whether we appreciate it or not, we are always in a relationship – with ourselves first and then others. When people talk about ‘loving yourself’, it’s usually an insult. “Wow you really love yourself”. But surely, we need to love and appreciate ourselves before anyone else will. Who wants to be with someone who constantly criticises them? And yet we often do that to ourselves.
Take a moment to identify three things that you appreciate about yourself and if you are in a relationship, also your partner. And remember kindness to others also starts with being kind to yourself. Whether you are in a relationship or not, be kind on Valentine’s Day to yourself and the person you cherish.
- Find the Funny
Our environment is full of hidden triggers that shape everything we say and do. These triggers are based on long forgotten learning or experiences. Have you ever been in a situation where someone has said or done something that made you really angry but then a few minutes later you couldn’t really understand why you were so mad? You were triggered. Something about that person triggered a reflex response and you acted before you thought.
Everyone has these triggers; they may vary from person to person, but we all have them. Best to laugh them off, in other words, find the funny.
Take a minute to consider what your triggers might be. Someone who is late for example or someone who interrupts others. When we are aware of our triggers, we gain much more control over them. Through self-feedback, active questions, and scorekeeping, we can learn to build new behaviours that have a positive impact on our lives and the lives of others.
As hilariously funny Victor Borge once said, “The shortest distance between two people is laughter”.
- Majestic in the Domestic
Find a way to make the menial tasks of life more fun. And this applies to every day, not just Valentine’s Day. We can all make the domestic majestic, and one of the best ways is music. Create a playlist for your household routines and crank up the volume – being mindful of your neighbours of course. Make the boring fun and get it done.
True love is never just about the romance and the flowers, it’s much more about the moments in between. The stuff of life. And often that stuff is not that sexy, but it is still life.
We have to love the life we live, and live the life we love. And that includes all of life. Take a minute to think of three ways to make the mundane more fun.
- Effort is an indicator of interest
Think about how much effort you are putting into your relationship. How much effort are you putting into yourself? If effort is an indicator of interest, how interested are you based on your current effort levels? If it’s low – why?
Are you just tired or do you have a lot on your mind? Take a minute to think of one thing you can do to free up more time for yourself and the person you love to foster that interest. Effort is also an indicator of obligation so deal with the obligation so you can spend your time with the people you really want to be with. Especially on 14th February this year.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sid Madge is founder of Meee (My Education Employment Enterprise) which draws on the best creativity and thinking from the worlds of branding, psychology, neuroscience, education and sociology, to help people achieve extraordinary lives.
To date, Meee has transformed the lives of over 20,000 people, from leaders of PLC’s and SME’s to parents, teachers, students, carers, the unemployed and prison inmates.
Sid Madge is also author of the ‘Meee in Minute’ series of books which each offer 60 ways to change your life, work-, or family-life in 60 seconds.