Whether you’re a an avid fan or despise the upcoming holiday, Valentine’s Day is coming. And that means two things: chocolate and depression.
Many people are excited that for one day in February it is totally excusable to overdose on candy and sugar (so long as it’s heart-shaped).
Then there’s those who abhor the color red and affirm that V-day is another way for the world to conspire against them because they are single.
And so, we experience yet another holiday with intentions of unifying and encouraging giving that actually creates many barriers among people and stirs resentment.
This year, I propose we give Valentine’s Day a slightly different meaning to avoid all the negativity, stress, and hyper-materialism.
My fuzzy valentine
The reason why we celebrate Valentine’s Day at all is because Pope Gelasius I of the Roman Catholic Church pronounced February 14 as a feast day to celebrate Valentinus, a Roman saint of the third century.
The history of Valentinus is bit fuzzy, but the name and date stuck for good.
Even the Roman Catholic Church isn’t sure about the life of Valentinus and removed his name from the liturgical calendar.
Thus, we materialistic, sweet-toothed, hopeless romantics are in charge of carrying on the tradition to celebrate the life and works of St. Valentine himself.
“Be mine” is a bit possessive, don’t you think?
We often send cards and love notes to that special someone on Valentine’s Day with the request, nay, the demand, “Be mine!”
Certainly it’s not meant to be as dramatic as I’m making it, but I can’t not notice the subtle possessiveness of this holiday.
When we love someone, truly love them, we want that person to be happy, even if their happiness is independent of us.
But oftentimes we find ourselves grasping for that person we love, wanting them to fulfill our needs and make us feel loved and happy.
We want to keep that person all to ourselves so that no one else can have him or her.
That’s very possessive of us, and it’s not an expression of love.
When did giving people fatty, fake, sugary treats become romantic?
Chocolate is delicious.
Heck, those weird-looking marshmallow peeps are delicious. (They were actually my favorite Easter treat as a kid.)
It’s fun to use food and drink for gifts, to express gratitude, and to share an experience, but please take a good look at the grocery store shelves these days.
Sugar. Sugar. Food coloring. Artificial flavor. Fat. Fat. Fat.
And a lot of it.
Why do we feel compelled to give someone a whole bag of non-nutritious food in order to show our love?
Mother Nature hates holidays
Doesn’t it feel like we just got done baking, buying cookies, wrapping gifts, tying bows, and uncorking multiple bottles of sparkling white wine?
We consumed so much energy and material this past holiday season, and now we’re at it again with our paper boxes of chocolates, tiny aluminum candy wrappers, and plastic lollipop sheaths.
Can we give Mamma Nat a break here?
You know most of those tiny aluminum wrappers are going in the trash, not the recycle bin. And a lot of the packaging is made with a combination of materials that can’t be separated in most material recovery facilities.
In the midst of wooing our sweethearts, we neglect to show our earth, the only mass in our solar system capable of supporting our existence, the love and respect it deserves.
You’ve gotta ask yourself one question: “Do I feel loving?”
Do you feel loving this Valentine’s Day? Or are you just going through the motions because this is just what we do every year on February 14?
Maybe this year we can be more mindful about what Valentine’s Day really means, or should mean.
Sure, it started as a feast to celebrate the good works of a saint, but it evolved into so much more – a holiday dedicated exclusively for sharing love.
It’s not the sugary snacks or the cheesy Disney princess single-sided heart-shaped cards.
It’s not the elaborate bouquet of red roses, or black if you’re a rebel.
It’s not the 4-course dinner, expensive wine, and carriage ride through the park. (Although, that sounds pretty awesome.)
It’s love. Pure, 100% all-natural love.
It’s nothing you need to buy or make (well…).
Love is something you are. So by simply sharing yourself with the people around you and allowing them to share their whole selves with you, Valentine’s Day will be a great success.
Will you be your valentine?
You don’t have to have a “special someone” in order to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
You are a special someone.
Even if you have a girlfriend, boyfriend, wife, husband, or an escort you found online because you don’t want to have dinner alone on Saturday night, you can still appreciate your own uniqueness and feel grateful for your existence.
Now, this isn’t the optimistic part of the article where I tell all the single girls that they don’t need a man on Valentine’s Day because they are perfect and beautiful and if he don’t see that it’s his problem and he’s not worth a girl like you’s time.
No, this is just truth.
We all have love inside us. By giving love to others, we are simply opening up the pathway for love to channel through our entire being.
When we open ourselves up and let the love out, we realize that there’s so much love within. We realize we no longer need anything else in the world to supply us with love. We already have it.
Be your own valentine this year. Open yourself up, not just to share love with others, but to share love with yourself.