If you haven’t heard, today is Valentine’s Day, the worst holiday known to mankind except for maybe Father’s Day, which is 100% commercial and has no historical backdrop.
Valentine’s Day has some history although not really. It’s named after a St. Valentine, although we don’t know which one (there were three) and we don’t know anything about them (one or two of them were killed while defending Christianity but that’s it), and we don’t know why there is romantic connotation to them (Chaucer mentioned the Valentines in his infinitely boring poetry we are force-fed by our English teachers who try to read us the poems in the original English, rendering them not only boring but potentially lethal. I was almost martyred on one such day).
Not to mention Chaucer’s rendition is probably referring to some day in May but we’ve already listed enough reasons to ignore this day. Oh, one more, Pope Paul the whatever, (I easily forget numbers and refuse to research while writing) in the 1960s actually did away with this holiday, admitting, once and for all, “we have no clue who St. Valentine is other than where he was buried.”
That said, three emotions do come up, because of history, on this day. Loneliness (if you have no Valentine), Romance (if you do), and Guilt (if you do, but you forgot to do anything about it). I fall under the latter category but I also like to think of every day as Valentine’s Day. Why should only one day per year be relegated as the day you respect, honor, cherish, your loved one?
But, recently, perhaps in anticipation of this sacred holiday named after a holy saint, many people have written me, “my husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend has left me. What do I do to get off the floor? I can’t get myself motivated.”
I can relate to this. I’ve done stupid, stupid things on such occasions. So here’s ways to avoid being stupid whether you are a guy or a girl, whether your ex is a “he” or a “she”:
A) You need to make a change. TODAY. Keeping yourself busy is no good. Your mind is not where it should be. You are constantly thinking about her so you are probably at about 10% capacity. The key is to treat yourself. Take yourself out on a date. Take a day or two off from work, go to a museum, a movie, go out with friends. Treat yourself and put yourself in a completely different environment. Leave town if you can. Stay in a bed and breakfast where you never stayed before. But you have to totally change your environment for at least a day. For the sake of all people everywhere, please help me out here and list things below, in the comments, you can do to take yourself out on a date.
B) Sleep at least eight hours. I would say ten hours but many people can’t do that (I’m a professional at sleeping ten hours). If you have trouble sleeping that many hours because you are anxious about the situation then go to your doctor, explain the situation, and get medication. When I’ve been broken up with I was not able to sleep without the help of medication. Kolonopin + Amitriptylin worked for me. But it’s still important to sleep at least eight hours, even if medicated. Then get off the medication as quickly as possible (the above are addictive).
C) Don’t eat after 5pm. Don’t drink. When you eat late you have trouble digesting, making it harder to sleep. When you drink, two things happen: alchohol is a depressant and you are already depressed so it’s common sense not to drink. Plus the sugar from the alcohol will have you waking up at 2 or 3 in the morning. Plus you’ll gain extra mindless calories. You need to be in top shape to meet the next person.
D) Don’t watch TV. Not even “Mad Men”. Not even the news. How come? Because on every TV show, including the news, people are either killing each other, cheating on each other, or (in the case of the news) trying to ruin your financial life. You have enough troubles, you don’t need Don Draper’s troubles as well. This is not forever. Just until you are better. You might think, “this will keep my mind off of X”. But it won’t. It will just remind you of the most painful parts of your relationship wth X. When I was getting separated from my X the worst thing I did was watch “Mad Men”. I couldn’t help myself. I’m a Mad Men addict
E) Don’t Spy. Which probably also means: no facebook, twitter, and limit all websurfing. How come? The news is already bad. She or he left. She’s gone. Any information you find out now is for what point? To win her back? To prove her wrong? To prove you right or justified in yelling at her? What good will that do you? It’s over. So you have to avoid outside stimulus that is going to make you feel bad and just move forward. But why not websurfing? Because you know you are going to check her facebook page. Or her blog. Or her tweet stream. And it will just make you angry. You have to follow the advice in “How to Deal with Crappy People” only this time, the crappy person is your ex. You don’t want to become a crappy person also.
F) Forgive yourself. So you did spy after all. So you threw a book in anger. So you were a complete jerk and now he left and is with another woman. So you got angry and cried and tried to argue with him or her not to go. So the police came and picked you up. So you wrote those angry letters about what you were going to do. Ok, you were bad. But you’re not a bad person. You just were abandoned. It brought back memories of every other time you were abandoned. The faster you forgive yourself, the less likely this type of thing will happen in the future. Maybe you deserve to have been left. But there’s seven billion people on the planet. About half of them or of the opposite sex from you. You’ll find another one who is even better. It’s a law of the universe. If you use this event as an event that will inspire personal improvement then it’s a guarantee you will meet someone better.
Also, lets say she said she’s leaving you because you did “Z”. Sure, you can blame yourself for doing Z. But there’s two possibilities.
- Z is not the real reason. It’s just a good reason she thought of that makes sense to you. You might not ever know the real reason and there’s no point in trying to figure it out.
- Let’s say Z is the real reason. Deep down you have to ask yourself, “Why did I do Z?” You knew that Z would have consequences. Maybe you weren’t ready for the person you were with so you did Z. Don’t blame yourself. But use this as a crucial point of introspection. Maybe you are, right now, afraid of real commitment. Maybe you want to be financially settled. Maybe you self-sabotage yourself when a good thing comes along (I don’t say this to make you feel worse. Once you stop self-sabotaging yourself, you’ll go out and meet someone just as good).
G) Be grateful. List five things you are grateful for today. Write down why you are grateful for them. Then tomorrow, add five more things to the list. Then the next day. Who knows. Maybe someone on that list is the next Mrs. X. But maybe not. Maybe you have to meet someone completely new. Or maybe you are not ready yet. It doesn’t matter. When you list the people you are grateful for it triggers the exact opposite emotions of the feelings of rejection you are currently feeling. This is a good thing. Let’s say each of us has a fixed number of breaths we have to live on this planet. Isn’t it better to change some of those breaths from ones of remorse to ones of gratitude?
H) Exercise. Let’s get brutal here. When you eat something bad your body has two methods for expelling the bad stuff. Vomiting, or some sort of diarrhea. When you get germs your body coughs and sneezes. In other words, when bad stuff goes in your body, your body usually reacts in some violent way to get the bad stuff out. Well, bad stuff just went in your body but it might be deeper. You don’t know where the bad stuff is. Its not so easy to get it out then. Sweating all of your body cleanses you. It gets the bad toxins out. Make sure you exercise until you sweat. Exercise is never more important than after a break-up.
I) Stop arguing. Even in your mind. The imaginary arguments. Why did you do this? Why did she do that? Why did he do X? What kind of ethics does X have in order to do this? Forget it. It takes two to play. Whatever happened, it’s a situation you share equally in, even if the roots of that equality go way back. So stop arguing. Focus on yourself today. And tomorrow. And maybe even the next day.
Also, it’s important to realize that arguing won’t win the person back. It’s not like he or she is going to suddenly say, “Ahh, that’s it. You’re right. I’m coming back now.” That NEVER happens. And if it does, then a week later you’ll be having the same argument. Guaranteed.
J) Feel the pain. My 12 year old just got braces. There’s nothing I can do to stop her pain. Maybe some advil but that barely works. The braces make all of her teeth move. Every nerve in her mouth is screaming out to the brain, “Why the hell did you just do this to me!!?” No matter what she eats, she’s going to scream in pain. At least on the first bite. And then it gets easier. And within two or three days, or a week, the teeth will get used to it. Then in a month her braces will get adjusted and she’ll feel pain again.
You’re going to feel pain. Something bad just happened to you. Your brain is not happy about it. It’s nobody’s fault. You have to get through it in order to feel better, look better, move on. Get your teeth straight. But it’s ok to feel the pain right now. Don’t try to prevent it by drinking or doing something worse to escape from it.
K) Lock the doors. You guys are no longer together. It’s time to protect yourself. Lock all the doors. Change the locks. Change jobs if you have to. Don’t see the same friends. You don’t want to intersect with her or him at all. Don’t pick up the phone. Make her emails go to the spam folder. Sometimes you can’t do all of these things right away. But do as much as you can and don’t make excuses. Make sure whatever you think in your head is not just an excuse. Making strong boundaries will help you rebound that much faster
Finally, let’s say she hasn’t left you, it’s Valentine’s Day, she’s expecting something and you don’t know what to get her. Maybe you even forgot.
Do this: Make a brand new blog on blogger or wordpress. Call it “Twenty things I love about X”. Make 20 posts. On each post find one image on google images to put in that post. Have fun with it. Then title each post something funny that’s related to what she does that’s unique to you and why you love her.
Try it. It’s corny. It’s easy. But I know this works.