Self Care

Valentine’s Day Can Be a Bear!


Valentine’s Day memories go way back for most of us.

Does anyone remember those packages of flimsy cardboard Valentines that we bought at Walgreens, making sure we had enough for everybody in our classroom? It was such fun cutting with our blunt end scissors, making those heart-shaped pockets that would hold all the “love” and glitter from the Valentines that the other kids would surely give us.  Did you ever come to school before the BIG DAY and peek into your pocket to see how many were in there? 


This day, touted as the “day of love”, is loaded for most of us, both men and women. It is an “either/or” kind of holiday, a holiday of anticipating and waiting to see if and how much you are loved, and when we are not in a relationship, Hallmark tells us that we are NOT loved…at least this year.


No matter how many ways my brain tells me that this is all a manufactured holiday and that real love is not buried in chocolate or expensive dinners, my heart still aches every single year I find myself “alone” on Valentine’s Day. It is in my bones, this message about February 14 and I am angry about that.


What do I recommend to all my readers as a way of coping with this holiday? Find a good friend who loves you even without your make-up, with dirty hair and in your ratty pajamas. If you are a man, celebrate not having to figure women out on this holiday! But, make a plan! Avoid restaurants at all costs and if you enjoy wine, buy yourself a nice bottle and enjoy every drop. No conversation is off-limits, but be sure they contain words of love, acceptance and joy for all the love that IS in your life EVERY YEAR.


Don’t fight the feelings around this holiday. Give advertising and marketing its due for being the King of Brainwashing. And remember, soon it will be over for another 365 days! The holiday, not love!


Are you a hopeful romantic, tired of watching those sunsets alone and ready to do the work to find YOUR VALENTINE? You can do it, and I will show you how? 

You’re only 90 Days to let’s talk about beginning that journey NOW!


Donna Bailey, MS
Donna’s Big Red Chair


Big Red Chair

Jingle All the Way???


Currier and Ives did it to us. Those serene scenes of horse-drawn sleighs filled with perfect families and horses that never pooped. Burned into our hearts, we saw them year after year and like Cinderella trying to squeeze her two sizes too small foot into that glass slipper, we just keep trying to make our holiday fit into that envelope too.


Every year I am surprised by it. The complex ups and downs, wishing I had _____, missing what I used to have and most of all, wanting for all the world to feel that idyllic feeling of those “Yuletide carols being sung by a fire”. And all the while, knowing in my head that I can’t have what used to be, forgetting that THIS holiday is a blessing.


A colleague recently sent me a story about eating an artichoke. She loved artichokes, craved what she remembered about how that “heart” tasted, dipped in melted butter. Having never cooked one however, she began stripping off all the leaves…no small feat when you are dodging the sharp uncooked leaves. She’s persistent and finally got to that fuzzy center. Plopping it into boiling water, she couldn’t wait to get it into her mouth. Lifting the lid after 25 minutes at a rolling boil, her mouth fell to the floor. It was mushy and she could feel her salivary glands freeze. Then it hit her…you cook the whole thing and the leaves protect that heart center like some amazing dessert that waits for you while you enjoy it one leaf at the time.  Like an artichoke, holidays are the whole thing…the past memories, current life challenges, and all those voices saying how we should do them.


 What if we just savor each leaf and try not to get lost in what we think is waiting for us?


Some years we are struggling with life. These are the times when holidays can be challenging if we keep staring at those horse-drawn sleighs. The gift that is most important in those years is one of self-love and compassion. The relief of saying, “Yep. This year it’s tough to feel the joy”. Acceptance, kindness, and by all means, being honest with those you love who can give you gifts of listening and support. Never forget, giving is a gift too and loved ones feel the joy of the season even more when they can give to us. So, reach out this season. Giving and receiving…it’s what it’s all about.


Donna Bailey, MS

Coach, Speaker, Writer and Expert in Dating and Relationships for Grown-ups

Donna’s Big RED Chair



Big Red Chair


Is it Better Just to Settle Rather Than Be Alone?

unhappy couple settling




I had a boyfriend some years ago who was as interested in relationships and finding love as was I. Our conversations were a constant source of growth for us both. We talked while we hiked up mountains, over afternoon tea and even when we were in bed together. There was no aspect of love and gender that we didn’t cover, diving deeply over and over again into one area that seemed to fascinate us both…”settling”.  I would love to give you a clear definition of just what that means, and my partner in crime, were he here, would argue adamantly that it means something else entirely. I would ask you to consider thinking about what the difference is between compromise and the concept of “settling” within a relationship you may have had in the past or may be in at present. And if you’re out there looking for someone right now, will you be tempted to settle?




Settling involves compromising beliefs that we hold so dear that we would fight for them, defend them without apology and know in our hearts and souls that they cannot be compromised.  Some would call these things our values. Each of us has a different set of values that constitute our moral compass. These values remain firm and static throughout our lives. They are our North Star and without them, we lose our way. Examples might include honesty, keeping agreements, respect. The Golden Rule is an example of a value for most healthy human beings and if you have experienced a relationship with someone who does not treat others with the same respect that he/she wants to be treated, that relationship is not healthy.


Compromise occurs when we agree to move toward another human being’s way of thinking, believing or living. Though we might want to do something the way we believe is best, we can see the wisdom and respect the other person’s point of view and then become willing to move toward his or her way of thinking.  Healthy relationships will always require compromise if they are to survive. The best way to move toward your partner when there are differences is to ask  “How important is it?”. Many times, the answer is “not very”. So, we compromise.


When individuals settle, they lose themselves in the process. Bargaining with your moral compass can result in depression and victimization. Often it’s more subtle. Maybe you don’t feel “that bad” or you say, “it’s better than being alone” or “at least he doesn’t hit me”. And though you aren’t alone you will feel ill at ease, perhaps sad or confused and live in some degree of denial. You might bargain with yourself while parts of you slowly disappear over time. Settling is toxic and much like addiction, will strip away your self-esteem.


If you are dating someone or further down the road in a relationship which you “know” isn’t life-giving, think about the cost of settling. Be sure you know the difference between compromise and the corrosive nature of settling. If you are staying put because you feel afraid you will always be alone, begin by making friends with yourself, remember that you are loved by many wonderful people, and trust that if you truly want to find someone who will love you and share your values, it will be worth the search, the slog and the wait. It truly will.  You deserve to be happy and wholly you.


Do you want to find someone to love, but are afraid you’ll lose yourself again? How about some support and direction to help you find love that won’t ask you to settle, but will feed your soul?

If you’re ready to find love, I’m offering a Complimentary  30-minute Session to show you the best way to make that happen!

Call or email me at 510-817-4242

Donna Bailey, MS

Coaching, Speaking, Writing and Expert in Dating and Relationships for Grown-ups

Donna’s Big RED Chair

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