With all the fan fare around it, it’s not surprising that each year when February 14th comes around, Valentine’s Day managed to evoke strong feelings from all around the world. From the “love is in the air” feelings to the less than excited outlook of those who choose not to celebrate. It is safe to say that everybody has some sort of feeling towards our nations heavily built up Hallmark holiday. Whether you only acknowledge the day to anticipate CVS’ long awaited candy sale or you take it more seriously expecting only the best outcome, it seems with each passing year, Valentine’s day is becoming an even bigger deal. In order to recap on this frenzy of pink hearts and red roses, the main question is, did the day go as expected? Often times our expectations come from the media, who spend countless hours advertising and building up how Valentine’s “should” be. Media outlets have even climbed on the anti-valentine’s bandwagon by encouraging singles to attend events designed to rebel against the holiday. With so much information being thrown at us over a simple Tuesday in February, it is easy to build up our own plans and feel let down when they don’t meet our expectations. The mythological story of cupid has taken on a life of its own so how can we bring this fantasy back down to reality?

The first unknown when it comes to Valentine’s is the element of surprise. Some people like surprises and trust that their partner is capable of pulling something amazing off. Anything less than that can feel like a wasted Valentine’s after so much buildup! So in retrospect, rule number one for Valentine’s: MANAGE YOU EXPECTATIONS. It was once said that having low expectation sets you up for happiness and having expectations that are too high can leave you feeling let down. If you expected dinner and a movie and got an in home private chef and a helicopter ride, this Valentine’s probably far exceeded your expectations! The opposite end of course is learning a lesson in managing your expectations because this year the build-up was just too much and the actual day? Perhaps a letdown. Realize that we all come from different walks of life, show our love differently and have different resources available to us. Always remember, it doesn’t matter WHAT you do on Valentine’s day, but WHO you do it with.

The second thing to learn from this year’s Valentine’s day: Manage Your Expectations. Nobody expects everybody to buy into the idea of chocolates and roses and perfection, but putting a negative twist on the holiday is clearly just a defense mechanism. Everybody single, taken, complicated and other can benefit in some way from this day! It is the perfect excuse to plan a nice night out with friends. It is an invitation to show a little self-love by spending the day spoiling yourself! And of course, it is an opportunity to spend time with those you love. Whether you subscribe to Cupid’s holiday or not, negativity is unnecessary so next year think about putting a positive spin on this 1 day of the year.

Another lesson that can be taken away from this year? Valentine’s has become a retail heaven! If you don’t mind the chaos, the mall has sales left and right. Regardless of whether or not you have plans for a candlelit dinner on the beach, you can surely reap the benefits of Valentine’s with some retail therapy at a discounted cost. Not to mention that restaurants have plenty of discounts as well. Even if you don’t have a date with prince charming, you can still get 2 for 1 appetizer with a friend without emptying your wallet! Not to mention that all candy goes on sale February 15th! You can literally buy 100 Kit Kat bars for five dollars in some stores! Regardless of your candy of choice, we all have a vice that will surely become cheaper the day after Valentine’s and there’s no time like the present to take advantage of a sale.

Finally, it is important in retrospect to acknowledge that Valentine’s day has grown bigger and bigger each year. Rather than getting swept away with endless expectations and standards for how you want this day to look for you, understand that it really is only one day. If things didn’t go as expected, don’t lose hope. If things went better than expected, try not to get too caught up in the fantasy of a perfect romance. Everything around us is making it easy to get more and more caught up in this holiday each year but what is most important is staying grounded, managing our expectations and spinning Valentine’s Day to our individual advantage just like we would any other day of the year. Cupid was the Roman god of insatiable desire, but that doesn’t mean us mortals have to get too obsessed with our desires, real or perceived. Keep in mind that Cupid himself let his desires go to far at times so take this year to learn a few lessons from his special day. The goal for next February? Less pressure, more fun!