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Cut the Strings: Tips for Enjoying V-Day with Loved Ones & a Healthy Budget by Liz Lawrence, MA, LPC-S

Hello Reader! Here we are again at one of those invented holidays that create a distinct response for most people. Time for Valentine’s Day (a.k.a. “the day that strings your heart along if you are single and don’t want to be”, Or “the day that pulls the budget strings if you are in a relationship”)

With that intro here’s some suggestions gathered from friends on not letting the day…well, pull your strings.

 

Start with what you have in your hand.

The trouble with the invented holiday of Valentine’s is that it promotes need to us. We are invited to consider who or what is not in our life and that we “obviously” need. Whether that’s a special friend, a party, a card, a time of romance or other things…we are invited to think about what we don’t have right now.

That reminds me of an episode from the sitcom, How I Met Your Mother, called Hooked. The premise is that everyone is either being strung along or has a person on their “hook” they string along and say they want to be with…but not right now. And that’s the hook, the promise of a later date delivering the dream. Sadly the hook is a de-frauder and can’t deliver what it promises. So don’t let Valentine’s holiday hook you. Stop looking at what you don’t have and look at what’s in your hand now.

3 questions on how to look at what’s in your hand:

  • Who are with you in the journey—friends, family?
  • What resources do you have available?
  • When do you have time and energy to combine the two?

 

Plan ahead—might want to start now.

With plans set, it gives you a deliberate and hope-filled use of time. If the previous years have consistently been the same with some string-pulling, don’t wait to wake up on this emotion-wrapped holiday and expect to see it differently. Instead plan now for a best use of what’s in your hand. You got this and you’re not alone in it.

So…this year V-Day is on a Sunday. Whether in a relationship or not there are specific ways your string can get pulled. If Sundays’ are typically an emotionally draining day for you; OR if your faith community plans to do baby dedications on V-Day; OR if brunch is part of your Sunday repertoire, prepare accordingly. Grab a buddy, ATM your budgeted cash, pray and praise your way there and back, have eating plans determined afterwards, and get a good physical exercise that day too.

Continue the prep and plan your budget then stick to it. Nothing like a post-holiday spending binge to bring in the blues. No time for that. Be mindful of what’s in your hand and wisely spend so that you enjoy it now…and later.

 

Keep the focus—and the faith.

Valentine’s Day has a life of its own in the retail space. It doesn’t have to be that way in your space. Without getting cheesy or “Christianesey”, keep the focus on what love has to do with it and don’t stop believing.

Love is truly a beautiful gift we have been given and we can continue to give no matter our age, life stage, or gender. Loving others well and letting ourselves be loved by others is a life-long experience. I pray that my epitaph includes something like, “she loved others beautifully…”. Sure V-Day is one day of hyper-focused romantic love, but there is a deeper and richer love available. Our faith in God as our true love allows us to consider how we are faithfully loved and ways we can care for each other sacrificially. Help yourself and your close ones to practice loving well.

 

Enjoying starts with a proper focus

So as you look towards the number 14 on the calendar, consider it’s all about loving well. Loving people like Jesus did is actually the most fulfilling, satisfying way to live. It changes our own hearts, frees to them to unite with others, and brings transformation of true love to our neighborhoods and the global community.

With that as the focus, enjoying those long hikes, downtown fun, Godiva chocolates, medium-rare steak, Amy’s Ice Cream, cards, rom-coms, or candlelit moments becomes the proverbial “icing on the cake” rather than the “must-have to survive another V-Day”.

Let’s get out there and enjoy what’s already in our hands, keeping the faith-filled focus, and loving others well.

 

~Liz

Liz Lawrence, MA, LPC-S is counselor, coach and creative who is passionate about people. She directs the Streams Counseling Center in Austin, Texas and co-leads the non-profit Renue.Me whose mission is to invest in the dreams of leaders in underprivileged communities around the world. Connect with her at www.lizlawrencelpc.com or www.renue.me

 

Photo credits:

  • Photo from Pinterest

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