Friday, February 14, 2014

Have an Emotionally Intelligent Valentine's Day

Today is Valentine’s Day, and expectations are high all over the world.  The “holiday” of romance, fueled by the flower industry, the card industry, the chocolate industry, and the restaurant industry, promises once again to bring joy and delight to thousands.

And disappointment to thousands of others.  From the pre-pubescents hoping their crushes will put  valentines in their boxes, to the people in new relationships pining for a great display of enduring love, to the people in long standing relationships hoping that this year she/he will remember, romantics are hopeful for the wonderful validation of their worth that comes only through a spectacular remembrance of Valentine’s Day.  And it doesn’t happen.
This is where emotional intelligence comes in.  News flash – Valentine’s Day is a commercial holiday that has nothing to do with an individual’s self-worth.  However, disappointment can lead to a range of strong emotions:  sadness, fear, even anger.  I once got so angry at a boyfriend for not remembering me on Valentine’s Day that my emotional outburst scared him away completely. 

The skills of emotional intelligence can help.  Here’s one way of applying them to Valentine’s Day disappointment:
1.  Self-Awareness:  (The ability to accurately perceive your own emotions in the moment and to understand your own tendencies in different situations.)  Think about your own expectations and how you will feel if they are not met – and then look at the reality of those expectations.  Are they overstated?  Are you buying in to the commercialism?

2.  Self-Management:  (The ability to act – or not to act – on your own emotions.)  Can you put your disappointment aside?  If no, can you verbalize your disappointment without sadness, fear, or anger?
3. Social Awareness:  (The ability to accurately pick up on emotions of other people and to understand what is really going on with them.)  OK, some of us are pretty clueless when it comes to things romantic.  Can you perceive caring and concern in a relationship even when your significant other didn’t meet your expectations for a romantic Valentine’s Day?

4.  Relationship Management:  (The ability to use your awareness of your own emotions and those of others to manage interactions successfully.)  If being remembered on Valentine’s Day is important to you, communicate this to your significant other.  Have a discussion.  If she/he doesn’t value it as much as you do, take the initiative yourself.
Bottom line – you don’t have to allow the hype of Valentine’s Day to damage a relationship.  In fact, using your emotional intelligence skills and communicating may make the relationship stronger than ever.

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