Valentine’s Day. The day we throw feminism out the window. All year we talk about parity, and leaning in, and getting equal treatment. We ask not to be objectified, to be respected for our brain not our body, to be treated like our male peers. And then we turn and say, but TODAY you must treat me like a princess, shower me with flowers and chocolate, buy me lavish jewels, tell me I’m beautiful.
What’s your partner to do? What should we do with these mixed message? How do we take the pressure off of our partner? Off of ourselves? Because, with everything, the pressure we put on ourselves is much larger than anyone else feels. Our Disney image of fancy dresses, and handsome princes, of sparkly jewels and romantic dinners can never live up to reality. Because we know that Prince Charming will never gallop in on his white horse to sweep us away.
Every other day of the year, we wouldn’t want him to. Every other day of the year, we insist on taking care of ourselves. Of being in charge. Of being the boss. We don’t want to be Cinderella. We don’t want to wait for that glass slipper. We’ve learned to save ourself, to be our own dragon slayer and savior.
This Valentine’s Day give yourself a gift. Give yourself a break. Let go of the expectation. Stop pretending that you’re Sleeping Beauty, waiting for that kiss. Get off your ass, and love yourself. Celebrate the love you feel in your life. Reset your relationships and remember to show affection every day of the year. Remind yourself that one day a year is not enough. And remember all the little ways that love enters your life and carries you through the year. Look for that love every day, and give that love back to others.