I belong to several social media groups. A high percentage of them are focused on mental health, awareness, and support. On Valentine’s Day, someone posted about wanting to break up with their significant other because the only thing that they received from them was a card. That person didn’t give them flowers or presents, just a card…
There were hundreds of comments from other members of the group calling out this person for being shallow and selfish, to being a narcissist, immature and more. My blog post is not meant to be judgmental about this person, but it did make me think about expectations. I am writing this as food for thought for what this holiday brings out for some people.
Valentine’s Day has become a Hallmark type holiday that can put pressure on people. The retail industry thrives off these types of holidays because they want people to consume and spend money in their stores. Since Valentine’s Day represents love, it can make single people depressed and act as a reminder of what they don’t have. My friends and I like to call this day “Single Awareness Day.”
Then there are people who like to display photos all over their social media pages -- of the flowers, gifts, and moments they are sharing with their partners, spouses, family, while some people don’t have any of anyone in their lives. Now, I am in no way saying that you shouldn’t post these things on your feeds, but I am only pointing out that it does isolate and single people out, making a heightened awareness of what one person may not have and if you have emotional issues, it only magnifies them.
For this person whose post garnered a lot of negative comments, I understood the meaning behind her disappointment. To her, the fact that she only received a card, meant that her significant other didn’t love her, or value her. To me, this is a deeper rooted and underlying emotion of her own insecurity of not feeling worthy of love. I know because I used to feel the same way. As an adult I was always hyper-focused on what my partner wasn’t doing for me, because I grew up in an unloving environment and had felt unworthy of love since I was a child. So, if I in fact, saw all my friends receive flowers and out dressed to the nines at a fancy romantic dinner, and I didn’t get anything or have anyone in my life, it fueled that trigger within me that I already had and made me feel that something was wrong with me or that I wasn’t worthy of being loved by someone out in the world. It made me feel isolated and that I just wasn’t part of this world or society. I know that seems dramatic, but this was a trigger for me and it was also my perception of truth, not actually the truth.
During some of my work with my therapist at the time, he told me that I put so much pressure on my partner because I expected him to not only be my partner, but also to fulfill the role of the father that I never had and my emotionally unavailable mother. I didn’t understand it at the time but over the next several years after it was brought to my attention, I began to understand what I was doing in my own relationships and how I was sabotaging healthy relationships in my life. I didn’t consciously bring those expectations into my personal relationships, but it was definitely underlying and I had never processed it or healed from it, so it was effecting me and my desire from experiencing love.
I didn’t have a high sense of self-worth. I also didn’t know how to receive love into my life because I really didn’t experience or see healthy relationships growing up. I had such a low sense of value that I was hyper-focused on meeting with and/or setting myself up for disappointment.
This woman who posted about being hurt that she had only received a card for Valentine’s Day, was she really shallow and ungrateful or is she looking for her partner to make her feel special because she doesn’t know how to love herself or perhaps she never received love in her life as a child? Like I said, I wasn’t consciously aware that I was doing this and my expectations for my partner to fix all the things that went wrong in my childhood, was too heavy of a burden to put on someone.
In my experience expectation will almost always meet with disappointment. Self-love and developing a sense of self-worth is not an easy feat. It will take discipline and a lot of work, but I believe that you are worth of your time and love. Work with a good therapist or life coach who can help you deal with your trauma and build your self-confidence. Find someone who can teach you how to learn how to love yourself. Looking outside of yourself for someone to fulfill you, will not bring you the rewards you are looking for. Love starts within, the healing has to happen inside you. When you are broken no one outside of yourself can fix you. When you heal from this, then you can share your love, learn how to receive it, and learn how to give it without expectations.