Do You Have A Valentine?

Love, Self

Whether you do or don't, here's the truth about love...even if you're single.

             As February 14th approaches, men feel the pressure of delivering some symbol of affection to the woman in their life.  And women often have false expectations that are just not met on Valentine’s Day.  Of course singles experience a whole different level of emotions.  How did it all get started and what does it mean?
            St. Valentine’s Day began as a liturgical celebration of one or more early Christian saints named Valentinus.  Around the 18th century, the first association with romantic love as a tradition of courtly love emerged in England.  During this period of Geoffrey Chaucer, lovers began to express love for each other by presenting flowers, offering candies or sending “valentines.”  The custom spread throughout the world. 
             Today, our culture has fueled the tradition with such over-the-top commercialization that it seems Christmas decorations just morph into hearts. By mid-January, big red heart-shaped balloons are spreading across retail stores like weeds after a storm, then the cards, gift suggestions flashing across computer screens.  There’s no escaping the bombardment of reminders which serve to make us feel obligated.  He’s thinking: “If I don’t do something, she’ll be pissed.” She’s thinking: “If he doesn’t express his love today, that’s it. We’re done.” 
           Wait a minute…what’s love got to do with it? The true meaning and original intention has gotten lost amidst the propaganda.  Couples and singles feel the emotional barrage which serves only as distractions of reality.  Love is not a duty. It flows from the heart and moves you to do the right thing even when no one is watching. 
           Instead of getting sucked in to mindless action on Valentine’s Day, use the occasion to pause for reflection on your relationship.  What’s working?  What can work better?  What can you do EVERY day to show how you feel?  Perhaps it’s grocery shopping together, cooking together, giving each other a foot massage, picking up a special surprise—not on Valentine’s Day—but on any day just because you FEEL like it.  Send a text in the middle of the day just to say “thinking about you.”  It’s all those small gestures that well up from your heart and reassure one another.  It is the every day expressions that truly matter and reinforce feelings of love.
          If you’re single, you may be pining for that Hollywood illusion of romantic love. Sure, it seems so perfect. But relationships are not all soft-focus intimacies filled with champagne and roses.  If you’re feeling a little lonely, get out and do a random act of kindness or help a friend or volunteer for a day.  Reaching out to another with caring and generosity can transform how you feel and activate a sense of love within you.
          The reality is that relationships are full of irritations, albeit beneficial. Annoyances teach us patience, compassion, how to deal with frustration, desires, etc. We learn a lot about ourselves and grow as individuals when in a supportive relationship. When you encourage your “Valentine” to be who they are, you illuminate the best in them and love burns more brightly.  Love is about what you feel deeply. It’s about what you want to give to make someone else’s life better, not what you want to get.  It’s unconditional. Forget the hype and the “have to’s” and celebrate love every day!


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