Choosing your reactions just takes a little mindfulness.
Valentine’s Day unites us like no other festival. Christians, Muslims, atheists and Buddhists are all burdened with the same begrudging sense of obligation. It’s possible to rise above it, of course, but to do so, particularly if you’re in a relationship, requires some careful negotiation.
Ok, your partner agreed that you weren’t going to “do” Valentine’s Day, but are you completely sure they didn’t think you were just faking them out with a double bluff so you could fill their car with rose petals, or scale their office building later with a diamond tennis bracelet between your teeth? Are you quite certain that they won’t be disappointed that when you said “I’m not getting you anything” you really didn’t mean “I’m embarrassed by my own extravagance when it comes to buying you gifts”?
This year, yes, I’m giving in to the hype, but I’ve decided to do something different. Forget flowers and chocolates: the ultimate Valentine’s gift this year is a Headspace subscription. Don’t believe me? Here’s why:
My partner lives with me. And not just me, but my moods, my obsessions, my natural tendency to panic and pessimism. Nothing acknowledges the patience and tolerance it must require to put up with me on a daily basis like 365 days of expert-guided meditation. Let’s be honest, that will barely cover it.
That bunch of specially marked-up roses will wilt. And even the biggest box of chocolates will only survive a week, not to mention the web of guilt that chocolates induce, especially in men, and especially if their metabolism isn’t what it once was. A Headspace subscription keeps giving and contains zero calories.
Original, unique, imaginative. Wouldn’t it be great if these were words your partner used to describe you? Their ex probably bought them flowers, you’re giving them access to a hugely beneficial practice that has the capacity to change their whole outlook. You win. Again.
You don’t have to tell them this, but meditators have been shown to be more patient in relationships, reporting improved levels of marital harmony. Meditation, with its emphasis on the “being in the moment”, has also been demonstrated to increase sexual satisfaction in both partners. Frankly, it’s wasted on monks.
People who meditate regularly have been shown to be less prone to lapse into depression, they’re less stressed and anxious, and they’re more likely to sleep soundly. Not even diamonds can do that. Isn’t the purpose of a good gift to make someone happy?