Annie Dillard once said, “How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.” With Valentine’s Day approaching, let’s reflect on how to incorporate this thought into your life.
Take a moment and think about your favorite Valentine’s Day memory from your childhood. It was probably a day to giggle, eat candy and give your family and friends Valentine’s cards. No pressure. No stress. It was just a very happy day.
Fast-forward to the present and Valentine’s Day can be far from stress-free. If you and your partner are struggling with infertility, a day devoted to romance can just add more pressure to your life.
Instead of trying to escape from the joy that Valentine’s Day represents, wouldn’t you rather spend the day reconnecting to your partner and celebrating the love you have in your heart?
If you answered yes, you might want to consider practicing mindfulness. Psychology Today defines mindfulness as, “a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”
Jon Kabat-Zinn, Professor of Medicine Emeritus and creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School developed the mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program. His book, Full Catastrophe Living, touches on the following points of being mindful:
Non-judging: Not getting caught up in our ideas and opinions, likes and dislikes.
Patience: An understanding and acceptance that sometimes things must unfold in their own time.
Beginner’s Mind: Seeing things with fresh eyes, with a clear and uncluttered mind.
Trust: Trusting in your intuition and your own authority.
Non-striving: Trying less and being more.
Acceptance: Coming to terms with things as they are.
Letting Go: Letting our experience be what it is.
Now, take those main points and apply them to Valentine’s Day. Celebrate the love you have for your partner, without an agenda. Approach the holiday with patience and acceptance, and focus on the good. The good times you have with your partner and the good qualities of the life you have built together.
No matter how long you have been together, look at your partner with fresh eyes. Notice little details — perhaps a smile — whatever it is that you enjoy about your partner but might take for granted. Remember, Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to mean sex. Hold hands. Give each other a massage. Treat each other with extra kindness.
Stay present in the moment, don’t worry about the future or compare this Valentine’s Day to a previous, perhaps more carefree Valentine’s Day. Let the day unfold and be grateful for the special day you have together.
Approach the day as you did when you were a child: Consider it simply a day to share your love and maybe eat some chocolate. Expect nothing more and you will be rewarded emotionally.