"If I Could Have It All My Way"
Valentine’s day can be so beautiful, and also so tough; blissful for couples in love and very hard to navigate for couples dealing with unmet expectations, past failures, a mix of hopes and dreams, disappointments, resentment and so forth.
Valentine’s day can also be a day that is incredibly challenging for those who are not in a relationship or have lost a partner. You might be feeling sad, irritated, lonely, horrible, roll your eyes, al all of the above.
So how do we navigate this day?
The main thing is to ask yourself the big question - “What do I really NEED on this day?” - and create it for yourself, or co-create with your partner.
Easy, right? Well, it could be, but often, it is not.
First of all, you need to be able to answer honestly. What do I need and why? What is the real need? What would it give me? Do I want chocolates or do I want to know that I matter, that my partner cares about me, do I need to know that I’m loved? Are there any other ways for me to get that?
One of my best tools for couple’s for Valentine’s Day comes from Alison Armstrong and it’s called “If I could have it all my way”.
You start with one person sharing with their partner “If I could have it all my way – Valentine’s day would look like……”
And you ask for everything you want, everything. Both people will be able to share their needs and desires fully. You are not asking for what you think you could get, you are sharing your desires and hopes.
The next step is to share why it is important, what does it mean to you, what would it give you.
Does it mean you’re gonna get it all - maybe, maybe not, but that’s not the point.
The point is for your partner to know what you want and WHY. The point is - connection, knowing each other, understanding. Maybe you can’t get what you want - but then you can both share the sadness of an unmet desire, and maybe make plans for making it happen.
Let’s take the mind-reading and guess work and fear of failure out of this day.
This share may bring up stuff - from your childhood, past relationships, past hurts. Find a way to share this (Notice how it has nothing to do with your partner, and everything with you).
Maybe you or your partner may have been thinking “we don’t have much money right now, I’m not gonna buy flowers…but if you knew that for your partner flowers mean “I’m loved” - you’ll find a way to get at least one.
Maybe, a response will be “If I could have it all my way - you’ll plan and do everything, and I will have to do nothing”. Imagine if your partner has the same response? Now we have a dilemma, but you both know it and get it, and now you can both figure it out. Be creative. Maybe you’ll take turns planning; Maybe you can have 2 special dates - one for you, one for your partner, maybe you just do nothing and have an awesome day of being lazy, guilt free.
The point is when you are feeling really heard and understood, when your desires are welcomed and honoured, even if they are impossible - it already feels better. You are already more connected than trying to play a guessing game or trying to win playing a game not knowing the rules.
Next step is figuring out how to make it work. If both people want to be surprised - think of a list of options, the surprise is which one they are going to pick.
Set each other up for success, make it easy for them to win!
Ask yourself “What do I really want and need on this day?”
Nothing, it’s just a regular day. I want to be left alone and forget about it; I want to know there’s hope and love is real, and, when the timing is right, I’ll be celebrating again; I want to make it a self love and self care day; or maybe something to celebrate with friends (even if online).
How can you do this? How can you make this day special for you? How can you celebrate you? What would it feel like to be able to give yourself what your soul desires?
Do not be afraid to go really deep here. I’ve been single, and heart broken, and, I remember thinking I needed a partner to give me what I wanted and needed - real love, compassion, and understanding. Turns out - I didn’t need a partner for any of that.
I learned how to give it all to myself. Was it easy? - or dear God, no, but it was possible. So, if that’s what your heart truly desires - go for it. Explore. Self love in action. Learning to love yourself, that much.
And if you need help - I’m here. I love my work, and always available to help you fine tune some aspects of your relationship, heal from the past hurts, help you get emotionally closer to each other, or help to plan a fantastic valentines day. My Couples Counselling sessions the week before Valentine's day are FUN. There are plenty of other times to do hard core emotional work. This week can be a celebration of your love, your strengths, your dreams, and your heart.