Today I got one of those random commercial emails (one out of hundreds) and the subject line stated, “You better read this now or you’ll hate yourself later.” Doesn’t that just sum up the whole strategy behind capitalism using shame to get us to buy their products? No subterfuge there. The problem is our society is so inundated with similar consumer messaging hundreds to thousands of times a

day that we end up believing them. It’s nearly impossible to escape the ubiquitous onslaught. In fact, Valentine’s Day was originally popularized in America not because of “love” but by a card manufacturer in the 1840’s strategizing to move his product.

Unfortunately, if we DO believe that we are “not good enough unless we buy this or that” hundreds of times a day, then we end up feeling pretty crappy all the time. Indeed, if we are constantly reinforced with the message of “less than” then we wind up approaching every aspect of our lives believing that we are not enough. It has reached such a fevered pitch that those things that are meant to “engage” us – like Valentine’s Day – are now the very things that make us feel disgusted. Is it any wonder that we are the most depressed and medicated civilization ever? Some call it an emotional epidemic of shame.

So are we going to take this lying down? Do we just drop our jaw and choke down whatever is being fed to us? Hell no! I am part of the LGBTQ community! We are experts at taking the lemons that are thrown at us and making Lemon Drop Cosmos which end up becoming the envied toast of the town! So let’s take Valentine’s Day and make it exactly what WE need it to be for us. Let’s make it the occasion where all that “love” and “romance” is spent on making us feel great, rather than miserable. Here are some tips:

Don’t buy the “not enough” lie
We all do what we must to live in this society, just don’t be duped by the bull sh*t! The infamous TedTalk Guru, Brene Brown defines shame as “The unrealistic belief that you are never enough,” therefore shame is a total lie. When you hear those messages, “You’re not young enough,” “You’re not sexy enough,” “You’re not rich enough,” “You’re not romantic enough on Valentine’s Day,” don’t buy it. Don’t play their game. Know that in this very moment you are exactly who you are suppose to be and you are absolutely perfect at it – beautiful, capable, sexy, courageous and worthy of love.

Enjoy “a few of your favorite things”
When you’re feeling “less than,” one of the most immediate ways to counter those messages is to do what really, deeply nurtures you. List out the things that make your heart absolutely blossom – music, dancing, nature hikes, service to others, spa treatments, watching your favorite movie (how ‘bout the Sound of Music?), card games with friends – and when Valentine’s Day comes around, do one or more of these exquisite things. And don’t forget self-pleasuring. After all, masturbation is one of the most intimate and loving acts that you can do with the one you know the best.

Fill your thoughts with “more than”
Further countering the “less than” lie, focus your thoughts and meditate on all the blessings and good things in your life. Despite being the most depressed, we are also the most prosperous, well off, affluent country ever (hmmm, could there be a correlation?). Countermand the “less than” with the reality that you are truly “more than” enough in many, many ways. Don’t just admit to it, but dwell in it. Luxuriously, soak it up. Make gratitude a blanket of warmth that nurtures you right down to your heart, and permeates every aspect of your being, because you are truly worth it!

Put these 3 tips into practice and you are already ahead of the curve when it comes to having a great time, not only on Valentine’s, but every day of your spectacular life.

This article was originally published in The Standard Magazine Feb. 2016

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