Anxiety/OCD

What Valentine’s Day Taught Me About OCD

Setting Expectations

Why do we place so much importance on Valentine’s day? I mean, are the other 364 days of the year not romantic and full of love? With all of the advertising put in place for that one day in February, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype. Many of us expect this day to be perfect: Getting showered with love, candy, flowers, and maybe even jewelry! We may spend hours on picking out the best outfit and getting that eyeliner just right. We paint a picture in our minds of how everything will play out. But what happens when there’s a kink in the plan? Maybe the food isn’t all that great. Or perhaps you spill wine all over that new purse. Does this mean your date night was ruined?

No Need for Perfection

When we set our expectations too high, it’s easy to feel let down when something doesn’t go as planned. But you know what, stuff happens. There are often times in life in which no amount of planning can prevent something from happening. Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with having a plan. The problem arises when we can’t tolerate any spontaneity. Focusing too much on what may or may not happen takes us away from the present moment. Sometimes, we need to go with the flow because it takes the need for perfection out of the picture.

How Does This Relate to OCD?

With contamination OCD, I feel compelled to spend the majority of my day making sure I avoid situations that seem dangerous. You see, my expectation is to live a long life. No one wants to die young, but just like Valentine’s day, sometimes no amount of planning will prevent something from happening. So no matter how hard I try to ensure that I will live well into my 90s and sport cute little grey curls, the truth is, I don’t know what will happen. All of the planning and avoidance that OCD tricks me into doing is robbing me of the moments that I have now. Let’s start appreciating the time we have without having too many of those expectations that can rob us of our joy.

So What Did I Do?

My husband and I knew that we wanted to have a date night, but we didn’t put pressure on ourselves for it to be perfect. Life happened, my husband had to work later than planned, and we ended up having to meet up instead of riding together. Did that stop us from having a good time? Of course not! In fact, it was one of the best dates we’ve had in a while. We went to Chuy’s and ate the most delicious burritos and even had enough leftover for a yummy lunch the next day. How’s that for a win-win situation 😉

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