I received an email the other day from a woman who read my article “7 Reasons to Acknowledge Anniversaries”—she requested an article in kind about Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day presents us with a double bind. On the one hand, we are bombarded with advertisements, talk show segments, and subtle (or not so subtle) messages on how important it is to do the right thing by your sweetheart. On the other hand, people push back on the commercial hype and pressure, holding Valentine’s Day responsible for the inevitable disappointment that ensues, claiming it is a “contrived Hallmark” holiday designed to put unrealistic expectations on love and relationships. These individuals tend to rebel, choosing to ignore the holiday all together or do the bare minimum of bringing home some flowers and calling it a day. And then of course, there are those out there who do not currently have a sweetheart, many of which hide out for the 24 hours until all the focus on lovers fades so that they can once again, feel good about being single. So how do we reconcile all these conflicting feelings about Valentine’s Day? After all, it is supposed to be the holiday of love, not dread. So in honor of those of you that still believe in a day that celebrates love, I’m offering 5 reasons to celebrate Valentine’s Day with. And for those of you that wish this holiday would simply go away and stay away, read on—you just might find a good reason to celebrate come February 14th! Don’t forget to join me for my LIVE Create Your Pathway to Love Workshop on February 23, 9am-1pm in Hermosa Beach, California. For more information and to register, go to www.yourpathwaytolove.eventbrite.com.
One of the tasks couples face as they build their relationship is moving their identity from an “I” to a “We.” Sounds simple enough. You start referring to “our vacation” as opposed to “my vacation.” Or you begin to talk about the future in terms of what “our” future will be. Simply changing the pronoun sounds easy enough but in reality, the pronoun use means so much more than a simple sentence structure would imply. There are certain things that come with the word We—it implies a certain level of commitment and with each level of commitment comes certain responsibilities—this may be the very reason some people pause when consciously or unconsciously selecting a pronoun use. So if you find yourself stuttering when choosing to use I or We, here are some of the reasons why you may be grappling.
I have worked with thousands of people over the years. And I have seen countless numbers of people tolerate issues within their relationship that they never thought they would beforehand. One of the exercises in The Pathway to Love Workbook and Guide is to identify your “deal breakers.” This is an easy task for most people. You may believe you know what you can and cannot live with and write these things down with ease. In real life, however, it can be incredibly difficult to follow-through on deal breakers. Knowing is not always doing. Instead, you may find yourself settling and living with issues and people that simply don’t work for you. You may find yourself denying, rationalizing, and pacifying the realities. People do it all the time. And this is why. Once you’ve declared a behavior or trait a deal breaker, your well-being, power, and integrity are at stake. So is your relationship. This is the pull and pressure one has to contend with once you’ve identified a deal breaker. No one likes to face the real possibility that loss is imminent. No one wants to have a broken heart. But in the end, your personal power and well-being are what counts. Ignoring deal breakers will only cause ongoing heartache and pain. So here are my suggestions on how to navigate this delicate issue as your relationship develops and becomes more real.
As you settle into couplehood, a dynamic begins to occur as you define who you are as a couple and get to know who you are as individuals. The need for space and autonomy set in—you want to re-establish your individuality and power that was temporarily lost in the excitement of phase one. On the other hand, the need for security and trust increases as you become aware of your deep attachment to your significant other. A dance begins that vacillates between seeking each other and seeking yourself—holding on your connection with each other while maintaining a sense of power and control. How this dance occurs depends on the two individuals involved. So what does an onion have to do with this? As you begin to experience each other in more intimate and revealing ways, you begin to peel away at the layers—you reveal your respective deepest wounds and insecurities, you feel the impact of each other’s defense mechanisms, and you see each other’s true character in motion. This is the core of phase two. This is where the real work begins. This is when you make choices that will determine the outcome of the relationship, or at the very least, its trajectory. Let me share an example.
There’s a lot we can learn from a dog. And if you are a dog lover or have a dog, then you know exactly what I mean. One of the best teachers I’ve had in the area of love is my dog Shlomo. I know, funny name, long story. Shlomo has taught me many things just as I suspect your dog has taught you. So today I thought I’d let Shlomo do the sharing. This is what he has to say on the subject of love and relationships or better yet, this is what I’ve learned from him.