One expert explores whether or not Valentine's Day is well-placed in winter.
Wiki says the following (excerpted): “Saint Valentine's Day (commonly shortened to Valentine's Day) is an annual commemoration held on February 14th celebrating love and affection between intimate companions. The day is named after one or more early Christian martyrs, Valentine. It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards ("valentines"). The day first became associated with romantic love in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.”
And you don’t have to be a trained psychiatrist to know that this makes for a whole lot of heartache for almost everyone. February 14th is an excellent example of a man-made cultural nexus of exultation and disappointment. This is a date on our paper or electronic calendars, which almost always proves portentous on our emotional calendars as well.
Here we are in the deep winter, when we have been dealing with the long nights and the relative lack of sunlight for what feels like a long time. We’ve been working hard trying to get the New Year off the ground right. Spring, the season of renewal, feels (and is) a long ways off. Outdoor enthusiasts might pleasantly disagree, but anyone who has even a little bit of SAD — Seasonal Affective Disorder — would agree that winter is a daunting time for reaching emotional heights. By the time February comes around, most of us feel like we’re “too pooped to pop.” 101 Smart Ways To Improve Your Relationship Right This SECOND
Spring might seem like a better time for romance. But there’s one major caveat: the restive energy, that itch that is spring fever, often makes us a little short-tempered and antsy. We feel in a rush to get somewhere, anywhere, that’s different. Too many of us are tempted by the upsurge of springtime energy to cut and run.
One of Buddha’s first principles is that life is suffering. He did not teach this to bum everyone out. The point is that in accepting this inescapable truth, you free yourself. And so by accepting that a wonderfully satisfying love relationship takes effort, you can be well on your way to do better with your offerings of kindness and healthy communication. Indeed, treating one another kindly, and communicating well are the pillars on which Valentine should stand.
So maybe St. Valentine’s Day is all right where it is on the calendar. It comes around in winter when we can look to it as a love beacon that guides as through the darkest days of winter, illuminating the nature of desire. But if you’d prefer to observe and celebrate romance in another season, only you can determine when that would better be — by knowing what influences you, by knowing your own precious Emotional Calendar!
Dr. John Sharp is the author of The Emotional Calendar: Understanding Seasonal Influences and Milestones To Become Happier, More Fulfilled, and In Control of Your Life (Times Books, 2011).