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Eight Valentine's Day Hero Tips from Dr. Lori Buckley, Psy.D., CST.
We question Valentine’s day. Is it a holiday for couples, men or women? While there may be a slight female edge, we decided Valentine’s day is a couple’s holiday. Our next question was how could a man or woman be a hero for their partner on this expectation filled holiday for lovers. We came up with these 8 Valentine Hero Tips:
Valentine Hero Tip 1: Don't wait until Valentine's Day
Love is not something you cram for or create at the last minute. Relationships are living things. Every day moves a relationship closer or further apart. Don't wait until February to show and feel appreciation, help out more, communicate and cherish your partner. If you want to be a hero this Valentine and every Valentine's Day, find ways to show appreciation and loving kindness NOW.
Valentine Hero Tip 2: Love Isn't A Battlefield
How you think about love creates the love you have. Everyone reading this knows the truth of this statement. We create our world and our first creation is inside our head. We think something is hard and it is hard. We think our relationships are embattled and they are full of strife. What we think and project is how we are paid. Ever been in the middle of a fight with your lover and forgotten what you are fighting about? You run out of energy and can't remember where you started. We don't know of a better demonstration of how unimportant most fights are than forgetting where the fight started. Want to be a hero this Valentine's Day? Don't fight or support a fight starting now. We have three tips to help achieve your "no fight" ban:
- Be attentive and neutral (use restatements to check in)
- Suspend judgment
- Introduce a wobble
Judgment is a relationship killer. Judgment is cancer capable of killing any passion. When a relationship is new judgment is suspended. Endorphins are firing and heat is all you think about. As heat fade judgment creeps in. Why? Judgment goes back to our superior being complex. We all have choices. We can decided to judge and be a superior being alone or we can suspend judgment and enjoy loving connection. Be a hero this Valentine's Day suspend judgment.
Introducing a wobble is easy. Start doing something different than you did yesterday. If you never take out the trash or open a door for your partner start doing small different things today. We become used to routines. Routines can help or hurt. If you are in a destructive painful pattern it may be too hard to break, so don't break THAT pattern today. Find a pattern you can easily break then break it. Eat something different for dinner. Cook if you never cook. Clean if you never clean. Take care of your children if you rarely do so. When you do something you don't normally do you break routine. Power flows to the wobble. Before you know it the painful routine you couldn't break is broken. Wobbles teach us no routine is sacrosanct. Nothing is forever. Change is the only rule. Harness the power of change by introducing a wobble and you may be a hero by Valentine's Day.
Valentine Hero Tip #3: Be Honest
We are only dishonest with our selves. Others may be in the room, but dishonesty always starts at home in our heads. Honesty can be brutal. We are fat, old and yet vain (lol). Since how you are with yourself is what you send out to the world and therefore what comes back being gentle and kind to yourself is a must. Honesty doesn't have to have such a sharp edge. We can be honestly kind. We can be honestly loving. We can be honestly empathetic. Brutality only ever leads to brutality. "But I am perfectionist," we hear some saying. Understanding how perfectionist brutality creates and sends brutality out in the world will surprise many. Perfectionism sounds very "superior being" doesn't it. I'm BETTER and therefore able to be brutal to myself without being brutal to others. Nope, doesn't work like that. Who you are to yourself is who you are to others. Honesty is IMPORTANT, but tempered honesty, honesty with care, feeling and love. Buddhist Monk Pema Chodron discusses the need to be gentle with how our inner voice speaks to us in her book The Wisdom of No Escape. She notes how being angry with ourselves during meditation projects anger. We love this book because it teaches what we all already know - how we treat our self is how we will treat others. Be gentle, kind and honest with yourself and you can be those things with others. When you are gentle, kind and honest with others guess what will happen? Yep, you will receive gentle, kind honesty back. (Beatles shuffled up on my iPod singing Love Is All You Need as I wrote this, I swear my iPod is God-like sometimes, spooky.)
Honesty Exercise: Weight
Let's jump right to major leagues of kind, gentle honesty. Think about your weight. Now STOP judging, being unkind and harsh (to yourself). You understand the irony here right? If you are emotionally torn up about your weight guess what happens? Yep, you get fatter or thinner as you race to make yourself feel better. Best way to lose weight or keep it on is to think of your weight with kind, gentle honesty. If you can make this mental adjustment about your weight, a minefield if there ever was one, you can be gentle and kind about your temper, vanity, ego, and pomposity, whatever... Remember to laugh easily and often, do the best you kind and be gentle and kind to you
Valentine Hero Tip #4: Take Pressure Down
Love happens every day. If your relationship is drifting don't try to recover it in a day especially a potentially pressure filled day such as 2.14. Q: Where do you start to recover any relationship? A: Yourself. By now you sense a common thread in how to become a Valentine's Hero. Healing always starts with how WE are being, acting and feeling. Good news and bad news. Good news because we control our life, love and world. Bad news because we control our life, love and world. Evasion and obfuscation never work, but we keep trying :).
Take the pressure off and start being you now. Easy to write and hard to do, but learning to solve problems whose origins appear external by doing internal work is a Zen skill. You don't arrest drift in your relationship. You stop drift in yourself and your relationships follow.
Valentine Hero Tip 5: Try Something New
Any day can be safely innovative, but some days are easier to embrace innovation than others. St. Valentine's Day is such a day. You can't recover a relationship in a day. You can introduce a wobble, and wobbles can lead to recovery. Our most common relationship complaint at BetterSex.com is boredom, lack of passion. We would advise finding passion in you before judging its absence elsewhere a now common advice thread, so we won't beat that drum again. New things create wobbles. New things can be routine breakers. In the Better Sex Video Series Midori discussed The Sandwich Method. The Sandwich Method is how she coaches couples to introduce new things "sandwiched" between two pieces of familiar bread. Communicate your desire to try something new this Valentine's Day, use the Sandwich Method to introduce your new sex position, sex toy or adult movie and you may ignite a new spark, you may become a hero this Valentine's Day.
The sandwich method discussed in detail in The Better Sex Video Series ®. Your new sexual idea is the meat (or veggies if you are vegetarian) in your sandwich. Enclose new meat between two familiar things (the bread). Start foreplay in familiar ways, introduce your new idea and then finish up strong with a familiar routine.
Valentine Hero Tip 6: Surrender
New age guru Eckhart Tolle says whatever is happening is supposed to be happening. This is a liberating truth. Once you embrace this seemingly simple statement you will fight life less. Surrender to what is happening and change the only thing you can - yourself. Acting on this simple idea can make you a hero everyday not just on St. Valentine's Day. Will you always get it right? Will you correctly identify where problems exist and fix them? No way, but if you employ gentle kindness and focus on what you can control life and love are easier, fun and rewarding.
Valentine Hero Tip 7: Together More Than Sum Of Parts
We are always more than the sum of our parts. Every couple is a thing in itself. It is important, on this day, to recognize your union creates a unique third character. Make sure some of 2.14 is spent in recognition and support of your union. Do something for her, do something for him and do something for you both. This is why we create a “Valentine’s For Couples” category every year to honor how one plus one equals more than two.
Valentine Hero Tip 8: Alone Again Naturally
Many reading these thoughts will be alone on Valentine's Day. I will be alone on Valentine. Last year I wrote a Valentine Survival Guide for those alone on 2.14. This year a couple of simple ideas will help keep Valentine's Day in perspective.
- Not dating? Start by filling out profiles on Match.com and e-Harmony
- Go to the Gym Valentines
- Netflix a couple of action movies
- No drunken calling or texting of exes – not a good idea ever but on 2.14 deadly
- Read a book (suggest Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle or Wisdom of No Escape by Pema Chodron)
- Play with your Dog
Television can be a Valentine’s Day nightmare. I will be sure my Netflix queue sends me a couple of new movies and I'm always reading several books anything to avoid turning on television on Valentine's Day.
I don’t drink but I've violated the “no ex-wife” texting rule many, many times. We can't solve internal conflict through external means. I know this but I do keep trying (lol). This year no emailing or texting the ex on 2.14.
I don’t have a dog but I get close every 2.14. Dogs Rule. They are always up for a walk, love unconditionally, never judge. They live in the NOW. If you have a dog Valentine’s Day is a great day to do something special for him or her. Buy him that chew bone he’s been staring at when you visit PetSmart. Get that new collar she needs. I had a great dog-like cat named O’Keefe, but even O’Keefe could tell me to get stuffed on Valentine’s Day. Cats unconditionally love only one thing – themselves – so depending on them for a Valentine’s Day hug is a risk. They may sit on your lap and purr they may not. I never counted on O’Keefe sharing affection when I needed it and sometimes he pleasantly surprised, but only sometimes.
Hope everyone has a Better Sex Valentine this year.