Another Valentine’s Day is here and if you’re single (again) it can be easy to run from this particular holiday, pretend it doesn’t exist, hate on it, or just feel discouraged that everyone else seems to have something you don’t.
Take it from me, I used to *loathe* V-Day–even if I had a date, it never seemed to live up to my expectations. (Which were enormously high!)
This was even the case with my husband our first 2 years together. Let me say that again so you don’t miss it: my expectations were so high, that even my loving and wonderful COMMITTED husband was not enough to enjoy this freakin holiday.
And that got me thinking…where is the *real* disconnect?
EXPECTATIONS VS STANDARDS
The two words are often conflated, and it’s time to talk about why ONE of them leads you to satisfaction in having what you want, and one leaves you disappointed.
STANDARDS are internal. They exist for you to determine how you feel good in your interactions with others, and are enforced through boundaries. Both standards and boundaries exist to guide YOU and your behavior. They aren’t controlling of others, but they do exist for you to communicate to others how you choose to be treated.
EXPECTATIONS are external. Always projected onto other people, they are a sort of standard that you place on others to control them in order for you to feel a certain way.
Standards serve you and create space for healthy connections and conflict navigation.
Expectations are unfair (in most cases) and more often than not, lead to disappointment.
Standards are an effective way to share with someone you care about what you need and want from them while giving them space and freedom to meet you where you ask.
Expectations are typically unspoken desires that can only be met through mind-reading; and when they’re not, they breed frustration and resentment.
When it comes to Valentine’s Day, you need to ask yourself this year: am I setting impossible expectations that will leave me feeling frustrated no matter what my relationship status is?
OR: am I setting standards for myself to feel good regardless of what does or doesn’t happen today?
When you start operating from a place of standards and boundaries, you’re going to find yourself feeling content with you, with your life, and with the people you date! You’ll feel more confident letting your new someone know that you’d feel extra special to be gifted flowers by them, or that you want to show THEM how you feel by cooking a lovely dinner for the two of you. You’ll know if you need to disconnect from social media for the day so you don’t get caught up in comparison and take yourself out to a spa night or make fun plans with your other single friends.
There’s no “one size fits all” guide to the perfect V-Day, and that’s GREAT NEWS for you! Because it means you get to create whatever experience feels best to you–independent of a date, a companion, or your roommies.
And when you give yourself permission to stop EXPECTING a rom-com moment and look at your circumstance as it is, you can accept it. You don’t need the box of chocolates and hot-air balloon ride to FEEL special and loved on this one day.
In fact, the more you release expectations (that aren’t even yours to begin with,) the more you can be present in your current situation and own it.
If you’re single on Valentine’s, own it.
If you want to go on a date, own it.
If you want to ask someone out that you’ve had your eye on and are scared of what they’ll think of going out on this particular holiday, own it.
You can’t change your situation without accepting it. I hate to break this to you, but if you’re single today, that’s because you’ve made a series of decisions that have led you to BE single today. And you’ll be just as single tomorrow until you accept that you’ve chosen this and you want to choose differently.
You aren’t MORE single on Valentine’s Day. So stop putting so much pressure on yourself to not be what you currently are!
Set your standards for how you want to feel today, and if you’re looking at what IS (your current situation) and accept that you’ve chosen to be here, you can start making decisions to change your circumstances that honor your standards.
But it all starts with YOU. Having a great day today is entirely within your control!
Accept yourself, decide your standards, and communicate your boundaries if necessary.
You’ve got this!!
And as always, if no one else has told you today: I love you.
LDS Dating Coach & Expert
Podcaster of “With Love, From Liv”
Liv Talley is an LDS dating and relationship coach, lifestyle mentor, and published author of the book: Sorry, You’re Not Perfect. She has helped singles find love, get married in the temple, and build exceptionally blessed lives through in-depth mindset coaching and personal acceptance/self-compassion.