For years I made a point of wearing black on Valentine’s Day. Then I just skipped over the holiday all together. Until now.
This overly commercialized “holiday” has always annoyed me. Couples buy each other pointless gifts, go out for an expensive dinner, and set themselves up for disappointment all out of a sense of obligation. These gestures are empty. Do they really mean anything? Some of you may say yes, and that’s cool, of course. I’ve just never really been a fan.
Yesterday I got the latest Blogging101 assignment to think about my target audience. I stayed up late working on the post and subsequently struggled to drag myself out of bed this morning. While making my way to work, I thought about my unfinished post. Something wasn’t right. I wasn’t saying what I really wanted to say…. And suddenly… Clarity! Not only did I know the message I wanted to send, but I also came to a realization that changed my own perception, which is exactly what I hoped for when I decided to start writing again (yay!).
The sensationalism of Valentine’s Day can be hard when you are alone or lonely. It reminds you of something that you don’t have. However, love and expressions of love do not always have romantic intentions. When we are growing up, Valentine’s Day incorporates friendships and even family into the celebration. That seems to change as we grow older into adulthood. We get so focused on the romantic love, whether we have it or we don’t, that we forget about all of the other loves in our lives!
Remember when you were in elementary school and Valentine’s Day rolled around? You went to the store with your parents and picked out boxes of valentine cards with pictures of Disney characters on them. You wrote peoples’ names on the valentines in your barely legible handwriting and handed them out in class to your friends and teachers, sometimes to the entire class. Many of you may have gone through this with your own kids this week.
Fast forward to high school. At my high school for Valentine’s Day, we could arrange to have a flower and note delivered to someone during 3rd period. I was nervous as hell as I bought a flower for my crush and quickly wrote him a note before I changed my mind. (Side note: Said crush and I messaged back and forth today reminiscing about this as years later we are happily still friends.) Aside from the butterflies in my stomach over how my crush would react when he got my flower, I handed over more cash to send flowers and notes to my girlfriends. They meant so much to me, and I was excited for the opportunity to surprise them with this token of my love and friendship.
We can create our own holiday traditions that align with our personal values. It dawned on me this morning that Valentine’s Day can be a reminder to me to show love towards everyone in my life. It is an opportunity to reflect on the people I cherish, just like I do on other holidays and birthdays, and to express to them how much they mean to me.
I decided that on Sunday I’m going to call some of my loved ones and send out messages to them, thanking them for being part of my life. It is something that I don’t do often enough. In fact, most of us probably don’t do this often enough.
I encourage you to take the opportunity to show your love to people around you who positively influence your life. Let them know that you value and appreciate and love them.
Love doesn’t just extend outward, however. It also flows inward. Self-love is something we all struggle with and can all improve. Loving and nurturing yourself is a key major component to a happy and fulfilling life. That said, I have also decided to celebrate Valentines Day by meditating on how I can be kinder to myself and by treating myself to an afternoon of something I love to do: reading.
I again encourage you to do the same. Take some time to think about all the things about yourself that you like and that make you awesome, and think about how you can better take care of yourself. Also, spend some time doing something you love to do!
Crazily, as part of my Blogging101 assignment to add something new to this post, I decided to embed a video and found the perfect one! It’s from Soul Pancake. They do some cool things. Check them out if you aren’t familiar with their videos.