Valentine’s Day 2018
Hello my darlings. Welcome to The Joy Blog, Valentine’s edition. Our first one together. Coffee? Tea? Rosé? Champers? Vodka? Grab your favorite and lets settle in to it together. February 14 can pack a lot of anxiety, sadness or just weird emotional baggage. Some celebrate, some ignore and some crack jokes.
Valentine’s Day is like an idiot tax for blokes!
Thinking back, everything started out so innocently. Cute paper cut out Valentines for ALL our friends in class. Very inclusive. Candy hearts and cupcakes for all! By the time we hit middle school though, it got weird. Although there was some exchanging of Valentines among girlfriends, the vibe surrounding this pseudo holiday was rough. As girls we had begun to be pursued by boys and it was expected that on Valentine’s Day this pursuit would be accompanied by some sort of Valentine gesture. To receive a collection of Valentines, of any kind, ranging from sweet to creepy was OK, as long as you had a lot or better yet, the most. A weird mix of grade school tradition mixed with pubescent hormones spawned decades of self-worth issues, right there on the cold, wind-swept playground and inside the sweaty locker rooms.
Next up, high school. Stakes are so much higher now. Influenced by music, videos and steamy teen love scenes in John Hughes’ movies, Valentine’s Day is an even bigger deal. Will you get any Valentines? From friends, or someone you are crushing on? If so, what does it mean? Who will you give Valentines to? If you do, what will they expect from you? With maturity, (read dating and sex), comes the real pressure. Are we exchanging presents, going out on a special date? What will be expected of me? There is pressure on everyone involved. It is no longer the sweet and meaningless fun of elementary school. High school is tough. On Valentines day, it can be a wasteland of self-doubt, lack of confidence and despair. Not to mention the devastating feeling of being “left-out” should you not be giving or receiving during this critical season of love.
The shaky start to the celebration of love and years of anxiety surrounding the issue is almost 100% tied to self-worth. Forget about the “this is just another ‘Hallmark’ holiday crap. That is so not the problem. Spending a little extra on a few cards, chocolate and candy hearts is actually the best part of the day. For almost everyone though, there is some kind of anxiety attached to it and it only gains in intensity as we enter in to and exit out of relationships. Get married, start families etc. Many compensate for their fear of being left out by being the “over the top” giver. Be it to family, friends and lovers, these folks are planning in advance and leaving nothing to chance to prove their love on this day. Others, who fear being left out make jokes, act above it all and ridicule others that do enjoy celebrating and generally go around making everyone else feel as shitty as they do about it. In between the two extremes there are the rest of us. Not so intensely affected but still feeling either the pressure to be the one who always gets the best Valentine or remembering the poignant feeling of being left out of the hoopla. Convinced that we were just not pretty or handsome or clever enough. No matter how far we have come or how logical we are today, these feelings are sticky. There is normally some residue left behind.
Honestly, I’m a romantic and I love the idea of celebrating love. No, we don’t need to set aside on specific day. Yes, it should be appreciated every day, just like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and Veteran’s Day. However, since we do have the day, I embrace it. Wholeheartedly. Which means accepting that you may not have ALL the love in your life that you think you need to be complete. It also means appreciating the love you do have in your life, from all sources, big and small. And, it is important (so VERY important) to acknowledge that no matter how much love you do or do not have in your life, only you can love you the way you should be loved. Only when you, love you, on the most grand scale and in the smallest quiet moments, can you appreciate what unconditional love really is and how it transforms. Only this unconditional love can free us from the sticky residue of self-doubt and self-worth issues that cling to us. This is the kind of love to aspire to and celebrate every day. Valentines Day is the reminder to recalibrate and stick with it during the rest of the year.
True unconditional love for self is transformational. It is infinite, not finite. It is always there. It can be given away but it can’t be taken away. It is the biggest gift we can give those that are most dear to us. It shines a light from within that attracts the same light in others. It is irresistable.
Be love, so much love that when others are with you, they are love.
My favorite part of Valentines day is still candy hearts and paper Valentines. Buy some for yourself, give some to others, spread the love around. Be fierce, celebrate you and celebrate love. Show everyone exactly how it should be done.
Happy Love Day, Namaste ~