Valentine's Day can range from annoying to dreadful when you
aren't paired, so let's put a new spin on this!
You probably feel sorry for yourself because you're the Only
One who's alone, but if you're alone you're NOT alone.
According to the American Association for Single people, 82
million men and women in the United States are unmarried.
If you define adults as those over 18, 44% of US adults are
single. By 2010, it should be 47.2%. That's getting very
close to half. What will we do then? Rename the holiday?
Abolish it? Or will those of us who are single rise up and
demand our OWN holiday? An UNValentine's Day??
Holidays DO disappear, you know. When I was young, we
celebrated May Day. Honestly, you bought Hallmark paper basket
kits, you assembled them, you filled them with fresh flowers and
placed them on your neighbors' doorsteps.
I am not making this up.
But I am digressing.
Back to my point. A LOT of us are single, so you AREN'T alone
if you're alone on Valentine 's Day. If that doesn't make you
feel better, try these things, which will be just a little tongue
in cheek, because I want to ramp you out of your position of
feeling sorry for yourself. I've tried most of these, BTW,
having been single longer than some of you have been alive, and
This is the old - if you can't change IT, change your FEELINGS
How could we not mention F-R-E-U-D on the national "romantic"
holiday? Remember Freud's "defense mechanisms"? A common
misconception is that they're all "bad", but actually we need
our defense mechanisms. They're helpful! We need our defense
I'm sure you're with me. Now if you plan to, um, GET THROUGH
VALENTINE'S DAY AS A SINGLE, a defense mechanism or 9 might
come in handy.
- Minimize anxiety
- Protect the ego
- Maintain repression
- It prevents discomfort
- It leads to some economy of time and effort
So here we go.
DEFENSE, DEFINITION & APPLICATION
Affiliation: Dealing with emotional conflict and stressors
(hereinafter referred to as "it") by turning to others for help
or support. Valentine Application (VA): This is a great
defense! Call your coach! Commiserate with friends. Talk to
your sweet Mom.
- Aim Inhibition: Limiting "instinctual demands", accepting
partial fulfillment. VA: Invite a platonic boyfriend out for
Valentine's Day and pretend it's all you really wanted. Who
needs mad, passionate sex when you can talk about QuikBooks for
three hours at Chili's, right?
- Altruism: Deal with it by meeting the needs of others. VA:
Do as I've done. Choose someone to shower with your affection -
a grand-daughter works! Go out and buy all the things you'd
want yourself - perfume, flowers, fluffy pink sweater, do it up
big! Wrap 'em up, carry them over there, take her out and wine
and dine her and savor! Feels great!
- Anticipation: Deal with it by experiencing emotional reactions
in advance of possible future events and considering realistic
alternative responses or solutions. VA: Well, that's what
we're doing here. We're circumventing a lousy Valentine's Day,
and making our plans otherwise. How cool is that?
Avoidance: Deal with it by refusal to encounter situations
because they represent "unconscious sexual or aggressive impulses".
VA: Well, that would be Valentine's Day. You could cancel your
own personal one.
Compensation: Encountering failure in one sphere of activity
(like love life?), you over-emphasize another. VA: Let's do a
clean-the-house marathon, or workout for 5 hours after work Friday.
- Self-assertion: Expressing feelings and thoughts directly, and
non-manipulatively. VA: Go for it! Ask that cute new HR director
- Sublimation: Attenuating the force of an "instinctual drive"
by using the energy in other, constructive activities. VA: So, we
work late Valentine's Day, finishing up a primo project, or go home
and write poetry or paint. Good idea?
- Intellectualization: Deal with it by excessive use of abstract
thinking or making generalizations to minimize disturbing feelings.
VA: We could talk about how nearly half the other adults in the US
are also single, and it ain't so bad. Anyway it's not bothering ME.
How about that?
LET'S AVOID THESE ONES:
- Conversion: Turn it into a physical symptom "involving portions
of the body innervated by sensory or motor nerves." VA: No getting
of paralyzed arms because you'd really like to sock your ex.
- Deflection: Redirecting attention to someone else. VA: Don't
need to talk about "Loser-boy Tom." We can deal with our own stuff!
Identification: Unconscious modeling of one's self upon another
person. VA: Sandra's got a great husband and she's going to Quebec
for Valentine's weekend, but that doesn't mean we have to dress and
talk like her all week without "being aware of it".
- Displacement: Change in the object by which the "instinctual
drive" is to be satisfied. VA: Having been abandoned by your
boyfriend, resist all urges to vent your anger on your roommate!
Keep your people and your emotions straight, ok? (EQ course
- Acting Out: Dealing with it by actions rather than reflections
of feelings. VA: Don't get crabby and kick the dog, or go out and
- Projection: Attributing one's thoughts or impulses to another
person. VA: No, your mother isn't mad at YOU, YOU'RE mad at your
GIRLFRIEND. Keeping people and feelings straight again.
- Regression: Suffering the loss of some of the development
already attained and reverting to lower level of adaptation and
expression. VA: None of that!
- Autistic Fantasy: Deal with it by excessive daydreaming as a
substitute for human relationships, more effective action, or
problem solving. VA: This is why we all hate Freud!!
Defense mechanism definitions from: http://www.coldbacon.com
P.S. Work in an office? Send yourself flowers. Like half those
other girls aren't doing that?
by Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach, offers coaching and Internet courses for
your personal and professional development.