When I was in my 20’s and 30’s, I thought that the love shower the man with which I was partnered provided me determined my worth. That worth determined whether or not I had the right to be happy. If I *was* worthy, I could expect the red roses I thought were the gold standard of Valentine’s Day gifts. I had bought into the fairy tale of romantic comedies, the pop culture seen in Valentine’s Day cards, and the societal messages about what it meant to be loved. Roses, chocolate, champagne. The irony is… I don’t really care for red roses – I like WHITE roses. And while we are on the subject, I much prefer daisies – yellow OR white. Oh, and let’s also talk about Champagne. I (gasp) much prefer a rose’ or a bold red to champagne. But… I bought into the societal messages: red roses, chocolate, and champagne.

With this background in mind, imagine my intense disappointment when one partner gifted me “Beach Body” work out DVD’s for Christmas followed up with a book with the romantic title “My Custom Van: And 52 Other Mind-Blowing Essays that Will Blow Your Mind All Over Your Face ” by comedian Michael Ian Black for Valentine’s Day. That book was the nail in the coffin of the relationship. I literally cried when I opened it (good thing my then-partner was overseas and didn’t witness that!). Is there actually anything wrong with the book? No, it’s funny! It’s crass but funny. Would I have purchased such a thing for myself? Not in a million years, I wouldn’t have even check it out from the library. But was the book wrong? No. I was.

If you buy society’s messages about being a woman you are taught:

  • You are only valuable when you are in a relationship with a significant other.
  • You don’t deserve to do nice things that make you happy unless you can do them with a significant other (i.e. take a Valentine’s Day trip or buy yourself a gift)
  • If your relationship has had any struggles and you have to work at it, it’s because there is something wrong with you.
  • You are only valuable if your significant other gives you the classic Valentine’s Day gifts of roses, chocolate, or champagne. If you receive other gifts, there is likely something wrong with you, something wrong with your partner, or both.
  • You must rely on someone else to make you happy and to make you feel valued.

That is GARBAGE. Here is the truth. You deserve happiness right now. You deserve it because you are YOU. You are the only YOU there is. Now before you start thinking of all the reasons why that might not be true, consider this. You have something special to contribute to the world and you will contribute more fully when you are happy.

  • You are valuable REGARDLESS of whether or not you are in a relationship with a significant other.
  • Relationships take work and the fact you are willing to work on a relationship shows strength.
  • There is nothing wrong with you or your partner regardless of what gifts you choose to give or to not give on Valentine’s Day or any other holiday.
  • You are responsible for your own happiness. FULL STOP. You are not dependent upon anyone else to make you happy. Someone else can be the cherry on top of your happiness, but it is imperative for you to own your own happiness, follow your own dreams, and fill your own cup.

On this day after Valentine’s Day, I want you to know that:

  • You are AMAZING if you had the perfect Valentine’s Day with the perfect partner.
  • You are AMAZING if you had an imperfect Valentine’s Day with an imperfect OR perfect partner.
  • You are AMAZING if you had a perfect Valentine’s Day without a partner or with a distant partner.
  • You are AMAZING if you had a terrible Valentine’s Day. And in that case, you had better go do something really nice for yourself today.

Do not wait to claim your own happiness. Your right to happiness does not depend on a Valentine’s Day gift, a partner, or anything else. You deserve happiness now. Don’t wait for ANYTHING or ANYONE. Be happy now, regardless of what is going on in your life because that choice means you will be seeking out evidence of why you should be happy. And then magically, you will be happy!

Not sure you can be happy? Maybe grab a copy of my new book and put some suggestions to work and learn about my story creating a happy life after abuse.

All my love,

Brenda

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