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Valentine’s Day is perennially celebrated as the “most romantic day of the year” but remember, it is not only about sending flowers, chocolates, and a card to your significant other, it is about loving yourself. Sometimes, one partner or the other is disappointed in the day because they were not transparent about what they hoped would occur. It may be that they had hoped for a certain dining experience, a gift, heartfelt card or something else.

It would be fantastic, if as humans, we could mind-read what our partners wanted or expected from us. Maybe that would be quintessential romance; however, our partners don’t live within us and guidance is compassionate both for them and for ourselves. It prevents disappointment and resentment. It allows us to learn more about each other, navigate with mutual respect between each other’s desires and allows love to deepen.

Why is it so hard? It’s often hard to be honest about what we want because we fear we will burden our partners with our “asks”. We then try to legitimize not asking for what we want by diminishing the holiday and therefore diminishing our feelings about it. If only it was so easy to tell ourselves that something that matters to us, shouldn’t. I suggest that instead of judging ourselves about what does or doesn’t matter to us, and then by extension assuming our partner will judge us too, have a transparent and mindful conversation about your feelings.

Here are 5 tips to help you embrace self-love this Valentine’s Day:

1.     Love yourself and own your true feelings about Valentine’s Day.

2.     Be fully transparent. Share your feelings with your partner and ask them if they have their own thoughts on the holiday. If you each have differing opinions, navigate together to reach a mutually agreeable solution. 

3.     Never fear being honest. Ask for what you want for the holiday or explain how you would like it to be. Couples don’t have to always agree on holidays or issues. But you must respect each other’s perspective.

4.     Don’t wait until the “day of” to either discuss or “hope” everything turns out alright. What you have control over is you in your relationship. If the holiday comes and goes and you feel resentment for the outcome, you need to take some ownership for that, especially if you didn’t try to troubleshoot with your partner in advance.

5.     Try to embrace a new truth, which is, it doesn’t de-romanticize Valentine’s Day if you take time to plan. Surprises and mind-reading may seem like quintessential romanticism, but effective communication is what can lead to long-lasting love.

Originally published on Thrive Global, February 11, 2019