Valentine’s day is a massive marketing opportunity. It is a day set aside every year for people that sell anything that connects with our emotions, and particularly the emotion of love, to stimulate their sales. For card shops, chocolate manufacturers and florists it is their Black Friday.
There is a difference, though, to Black Friday. Black Friday is all about discounting whereas Valentine’s day is all about adding a premium. Watch the costs of flowers, chocolates and restaurants increase for this one day of the year.
How can they do this? Through clever marketing and …shame. Shame on you if you do not join in and shame on you if you are not involved.
At least it happens only once a year.
My experiences of Valentine’s days over the years have spanned most of the spectrum. When I was very young and very single I remember the huge fear of sending a card to a girl I desperately wanted to be my girlfriend. I also remember the hurt and the sadness that went with the sense of rejection when she did not feel the same way.
Growing up a little more in to adolescence there was the “how many cards did you get?” comparison going on. Significantly this was aimed for more at girls than boys (may be another effect of a misogynistic society)
I remember, as I matured and I was in a relationship how the pressure to conform to the norm of buying extortionately priced trinkets on one day a year was perceived to represent my feelings for the following 364 days. How I could be shamed by others for even hinting that I may not wish to join in. How hurt my then girlfriend could be if I did not.
Finally there is the sense of loneliness and isolation felt by one who has been single on such a well publicised day that highlights the haves and the have nots.
At least this only happens once a year. That was one day…it passed…the pain went
There are, of course parallels that continue all year round in this social media connected society that we live in.
The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.
Be it a business using Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn or an individual using Snapchat or any of the many other social media applications what is clear is that people are increasingly comparing their experience of life with others.
As the quote above from Steven Furtick suggests we do fall into a trap. Despite that most of us are only sharing the good stuff on social media, when we are feeling vulnerable and we view others posts we are inclined to think that is their posts represent their 100% experience.
Additionally there is the complicated emotional algorithm some have for comparing the number of likes they have with others to discern their own comparative popularity and happiness with themselves. This all makes social media as potentially painful and toxic as Valentine’s day except that it is with us 24 hours a day.
Here’s a question for you?
What would you say to a close friend of yours who was in emotional pain because they thought everyone was having a better time than them and that everyone else was more popular than them?
I imagine (I hope) that you would approach them with some level of compassion.
Another question – would you extend that same level of compassion to yourself?
We are often much tougher on ourselves than we would be with others.
So, give yourself a break. Be compassionate to yourself when you feel down and maybe, just maybe, think about toning down the social media usage so that you expose yourself less to the self torture that it can become.
Happy Valentine’ Day….or may be by making different choices you can experience happiness every day