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February 14th is Valentine’s Day, a holiday designated as a celebration of romantic love. While sales of cards, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates and roses soar, many of us begin feeling depressed or left out. In some way, it seems that our current relationship situation does not measure up to the cultural standard.

The pressure to conform to cultural norms impacts all parts of our lives, even our love lives. These norms set a standard for the “average” person in our culture, and do not fit our individual lives. Here is a three-step process to break free from the cultural imperative to have a Hallmark-sanctioned holiday:

Your relationship situation includes whether you currently have a partner or not, whether you have more than one intimate but are not in a committed relationship or are dating, and whether you are content not to be in relationship or are desiring one. It also includes the quality of any of those relationships – how happy and satisfied you are within your situation.

  1. Begin by looking at your unique relationship situation – Your relationship situation includes whether you currently have a partner or not, whether you have more than one intimate but are not in a committed relationship or are dating, and whether you are content not to be in relationship or are desiring one. It also includes the quality of any of those relationships – how happy and satisfied you are within your situation.
  2. The next step is to practice self-love, meaning complete acceptance and openness to your situation and your core self. Acceptance comes naturally when we realize that, while our situation will change over time, our core self remains the same. Openness is a continuation of that acceptance into each and every new moment.
  3. As we develop our self-love and openness, we take the final step of bringing that awareness into every encounter we have with others. This forms a loving and considerate basis for all of our relationships, romantic and otherwise. When we begin with self-love, it can then ripple outward to everyone we come in contact with.

Follow this three-step process throughout your day, and I know you will have a great Valentine’s Day!

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