Is there any holiday filled with more “forced-march” trepidation than Valentine’s Day? I’ve had my share of fun Valentine’s Days—but I’ve also had horrified moments of expectations not met. And i’ve certainly had “successful” Valentine’s Days that unfortunately meant sitting in a restaurant in a line of 10 couples, table to table, guys on one side, girls on the other, all playing out the protocol of what romance should look like. It all felt pretty silly and almost embarrassing at the time.So yes, there is the forced march into intimacy –but also, what about all those chocolates? if you don’t get them, that’s supposed to be a sad statement in our culture (really? maybe just bad timing. If Valentine’s Day were a month away, it could be a different story). And what if you do get those chocolates? Now what? How many do you have to eat to prove you’ve celebrated successfully?
This Valentine’s Day, how about celebrating in a new way? Can you have one moment of connection with someone you love? and as far as i’m concerned, that doesn’t have to be a cupid-arrowed partner. What about your kids? a friend? What (horror on Valentine’s Day) about yourself?
This is a holiday about connection and intimacy that has gone awry. It’s a holiday too that often has people focusing on what they DON’T have—not what they do.
So why not use this day to have one intimate connected moment with anyone, including yourself. Focus for that moment on what you DO have, not what you don’t. And in terms of those chocolates—if you are going to have them, stay present, mindful—Don’t have one unless you are ready to taste what you are eating and actually enjoy it.
This doesn’t have to be a holiday where you are robotically ushered into a pro-forma set up in a restaurant, a holiday where you are pressured to be and act close. It doesn’t have to be a wild run of a day with chocolate wrappers strewn throughout. Make it a true holiday—a day to pay attention to who is important to you, yourself included. Otherwise, you too will run the risk of being a Hallmark card run amok.
Celebrate—in a fashion that feels true to yourself and your hungers for closeness, self acceptance—and even for those chocolates.
(And, as our support group leader Jamie notes—It’s nice to give and receive love on any given day. So perhaps if we practice celebrating love (for ourselves, our family, our friends) on a more regular basis, this day might hold less of a punctuated, personal meaning? Thanks Jamie—I couldn’t agree more!)