Long ago, when I was a starving student, my former boyfriend visibly wilted when I told him that I don't do Valentine's Day.
Seeing his disappointment, I asked him what this holiday meant to him and what I could do to make it a happy day for him. I compromised myself and decided to celebrate, with conditions:
"Please don't get me any jewelry with hearts on it. PLEASE, seriously, no heart jewelery! If you must get me a gift, please make it something practical like a gift certificate for the gas station or grocery store. I also enjoy something cool and handmade where real people will benefit from your purchase. Whatever you do, please don't buy me something from the mall."
Valentine's Day came and he proudly presented me with, you guessed it, expensive, heart shaped jewelery from the local mall. He knew other people would be much more impressed by this than they would if he had honored my request.
Keep in mind that I was waitressing while going to college full time. The amount of money he spent on the heart conspiracy jewelry would have made sure I had food to eat and gas to get to school and work for, like, 3 months. He felt it more important to buy for his public image than for my happiness. After all, I would have been happy with no gifts and not celebrating this holiday at all.
This did not feel loving. Yet, I felt the need to act overjoyed at his gift. I felt pressuerd to act happy when my friends asked what he got me for Valentine's Day. I felt pressured to abandon my true feelings in order to protect his public image. And my public image also, lest I seem an ungrateful bitch in the sight of such apparent generosity. Self abandonment is not self love.
If Valentine's day is a wonderful day for you, yay! That is awesome for you but for many it is filled with pressure, disappointment and lonliness. Celebrate it if you love it and if you don't, screw it!
I suggest we celebrate love every day. Let's not limit the celebration of love to just our romantic relationships. Let's celebrate love by loving ourselves more and by creating lives that we love to live. Let's put love in the driver's seat and let it be the guide for all of our decisions until we fall so in love with ourselves and so in love with our lives that even Valentine's Day doesn't bother us any more.
My friend Carin recently shared with me that she started asking herself the question, "What's the most loving thing I can do for myself right now?" I thought this was brilliant. I started doing it too. I challenge you to do the same. Ask yourself several times a day. "Is this the most loving thing I can feed myself? I'm tired but I still have work to do, what is the most loving thing I can do for myself?"
Also, look at the things you are already doing. environments and relationships you are in. Ask yourself, "Where's the love in this?" Where you find love in your choices, do what you can to amplify it. If you can't find love, try to invite some in or consider letting go of that loveless situation.
This sets you free. Let love be your guide in every choice and, I believe that your life and your relationships will fall into place. A much happier place.