Tuesday, February 14, 2017

How to Get Love on Valentine's Day

Last year, I talked about the pressure put on people to “perform” or “get” on Valentine’s Day, and added a few suggestions for you to make the most out of yours. I haven’t been sued yet, so either none of my suggestions were taken – or nobody took them as far as I would have! (click here to read last year’s).

No matter what I said, then or now, the bottom line is that all of these so-called holidays that involve some type of “exchange” are nothing more than sales vehicles. The ideas and themes behind the holidays are genuine and have valid reasons for their importance as reminders; however, the meanings have been lost under an air of expectation as a result of marketing. I’ll say it again: “Nobody parties harder [each holiday] than those interested in selling it.”

That being said, many of us still buy into all of it having been set up for that since we were children. Whether or not we agree with the general consensus of things being ‘too commercial’, we still grow up with a subconscious expectancy, conscious resentment, or something in between.

This is where I am. I have never put much stock in the commercialism; I know what it is, I can choose or not choose to participate to whatever degree I want to. Valentine’s Day was never a big deal. I wore red because it was fun to be a part of a collective, for my own pleasure. I’m not a ‘flowers’ kind of person, and I enjoy chocolate every day. I’ve been single or on my own more often than not – I never had the chance or opportunity or conditioning or whatever to make it anything other than a day to wear red. This is good for me because I don’t feel any kind of lack, and therefore no resentment at the incessant advertising that attempts to sell the idea that true love only exists on and for February 14th.

I considered myself lucky to feel that way, because I see so many people sad and feeling lonely because they don’t have anyone to make that day significant for them. (Don’t worry; I have so many other issues to make up for the lack of this one!)

And then, one year something happened that made that particular day significant for me. Not because it was Valentine’s Day, but because it was a day of an event that was significant to me: a First Kiss. Google helped put a stamp on the event with a banner that featured a candy heart with the imprinted words “FIRST KISS”.

(At the time, I considered that to be a happy moment of synchronicity.)

Now, I have a significant event that happened on a day that gets noticed annually, even though the event had nothing to do with the day. I’m sure it’s quite obvious that my circumstances now are not the same as they were then. And, yes, I miss those days.

This brought up a unique Valentine’s Day quandary for me: I still have no expectations of the day of any kind, but its publicity is an annual reminder of what was. Of course it is something I remember without any help, but the yearly ‘prompt’ is overkill.

The Valentine’s Day need for a partner that has developed over the years for many people causes division in the meaning of LOVE. Love is love is love. One who feels real love for what it is will not draw lines between what type of love it is. If you split hairs on your definition of what you feel love is, then you lose all possibility of feeling it – in the same way – on so many other levels.  Romantic love, familial love, animal love, enjoyment love, friend love … the base level feeling is the same, unless you give one type more importance or value.

I miss that particular situation, yes, but I do not feel unloved. There were many types of love I left out in the previous paragraph, and if you understand love then you can fill in the blanks with any of them. There was one in particular that was left out deliberately because I wanted to separate it from the pack – if one type of love is more important than the others, this is it:

Self love.

Self love gives us our motivation, our ability to show love to others and to enjoy the love we feel towards us. If you want to feel love on Valentine’s Day – or any other day – learn how to love yourself (learn the value of it), and you will never feel there is anything missing.

To keep that one Valentine’s Day from being an isolated occasion (which will always give anything a feeling of more importance or of deeper impact), I make it less of a stand-alone event. No, I’m not going out and First-Kissing strangers – even though that could be fun. I give myself big events on that day; that way, each year when it rolls around I don’t find myself looking back with melancholy over one moment that happened to occur on Valentine’s Day. The back-door significance Valentine’s Day gave to my personal event, along with any residual feelings that were not positive have been lessened by the expansion of my focus. Narrow focus limits us.

Now, I celebrate Valentine’s Day as a day for me and from me, all in the name of love. I could buy myself a more expensive bottle of wine, a silly trinket, or I could visit somewhere I haven’t been before … one ‘out of the ordinary’ event to put my own stamp on the day. This particular year I had a stroke of luck that I used as my Valentine’s gift to myself (I won a drawing in November and took my prize on Valentine’s week); I’m sitting in front of a roaring fire in a charming Vermont retreat, with nothing to do but eat, drink, and write. It’s all about me here, and I am in heaven.

I don’t feel less loved on Valentine’s Day. In giving myself love and attention I am getting love and attention. Nothing is missing.

If you want something done right, you need to do it yourself. 

This is not a phrase normally used in reference to self love, but it more than applies here. We are taught that we can be so much happier and more satisfied when we’ve accomplished something on our own. Think of how much more is opened to us by expanding both of those thoughts to encompass loving yourself and treating yourself with love. Love is always returned in some way. What should be limited are any and all expectations in how it is returned and from whom it is returned.

If you want to ‘get’ love on Valentine’s Day, give it to yourself. You will only get by giving – and the best part is that you will always get by giving.

It’s a vicious circle.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Susie. I love you.

Thank you, Susie. I love you, too.