It is a day covered in cotton-candy colors, SweetHearts and roses. The sentiment is love, adoration and passion. It is an excuse to eat chocolate, look for cupid’s arrow and use words like “honey” and “love birds.” For some it is a day for gentle emotions; for others this day is sickeningly sweet, covered in a Pepto-Bismal pink, filled with angst and resentment. How can Valentine’s Day create such controversy?
Whenever February 14th approached on the calendar I used to groan. I called it the “Hallmark Holiday,” to make you recognize the lack in your life. It started with high school. I attended a school that sold roses and chocolates for Valentine’s Day, and if someone bought you a rose it would be delivered in the middle of class. If you were single it was humiliating, and if you had a secret admirer, well sometimes that was even worse.
As I grew up this day was one where I either felt pressured to have a boyfriend or over analyzed the relationship I was in. I hated the idea that everyone was supposed to express love for one another, all at once, just because the calendar said so. Yet, somehow I too would get caught up in all of the expectations the day brings.
Even though I used to boycott this holiday—one year I wore black in protest—I grew up with a mother who could have been St. Valentine’s little elf. She would sprinkle our house with bowls of Sweetheart candies and buy everyone the cutest little gifts. We even had a dog named Cupid because we bought her on Valentine’s Day. I am being serious; my mother lives for this holiday. Even though I was surrounded with these loving sentiments, year after year I was the Valentine’s Day Grinch. That is until a few years ago.
I used to be a person who focused on the lack in life. For example, I might have had a great job but it could pay more or I might have had a wonderful boyfriend but he could be more expressive, etc., etc. So of course I would take issue with Valentine’s Day because I could only see the voids, as opposed to the abundance.
But I have evolved and so have my views. I can now see this holiday through my mother’s loving eyes. It isn’t just a day that recognizes romantic relationships or the absence of one. It is a moment to stop and appreciate love in all forms. Maybe it is a deep friendship. Or a child that is in your life. Maybe it is a pet that you adore who loves you unconditionally. Maybe it is the new passion you have found in your career. Maybe it is a spiritual circle you attend or a community organization. Maybe it is a volunteer position. Maybe it is love for yourself and the gifts you bring to the world. Maybe it is less about others and more about you.
My mother focused on celebrating life and the love she had to give to herself and others. She used this holiday as a day to spread her generosity, compassion and unconditional love. She focused on abundance and thanking the people who touched her in some way, and in truth, she attracted more love just by doing so.