A Compassionate Approach to Valentine’s Day
For some people, Valentine’s Day is about celebrating a loving relationship or enjoying lighthearted times with friends and family. But for those grieving the loss of a spouse, dealing with a divorce or break-up, facing a long-term separation, or otherwise feeling alone, this usually sweet holiday can have a bitter taste.
Here are a few tips for reaching out with care to someone who is struggling this Valentine’s Day:
- Listen between the lines. If someone makes a comment about Valentine’s Day that hints at feelings of sadness or negativity, gently and nonjudgmentally follow up. A simple “Tell me more about that” lets them know you’re willing to listen.
- Treat the person’s feelings seriously. People may experience a variety of difficult emotions on Valentine’s Day. Treating their feelings as valid gives them permission to share whatever they need and want to share.
- Avoid clichés. There are plenty of clichés about Valentine’s Day, so be on guard. Saying something like “God has someone for you” or “You’ll find another” will likely only add to their difficult feelings about the holiday.
- Don’t pressure someone to “cheer up.” Trying to push someone to “get into the spirit of the holiday” often leaves them feeling worse and communicates that they shouldn’t feel the way they do. Whether someone is sad or lonely, bitter or angry, a better approach is to be a caring, listening presence.
No matter the person’s situation, your care can make a real difference. People may not think about those for whom Valentine’s Day isn’t a particularly happy time, so your willingness to relate with compassion may be a welcome surprise for someone expecting to suffer silently.
Article contributed by Stephen MinistriesTags: #brokenheart, #valentinesday