Valentine’s Day has always stirred up excitement for me. I enjoy preparing how I am going to express little acts of love and kindness towards my loved ones. It’s always a good reminder for me that this kind of effort should not stop at the end of the day.
Receiving Valentine’s treats from my parents was a regular occurrence on this day throughout my life; and my father has continued to carry on this tradition even though I have a family of my own.
When I, my husband, and our children returned home from a family vacation at the end of February last year, we were pleasantly surprised to come home to chocolate treats delivered to our house by my dad. Even though we were away for Valentine’s Day he managed to make his delivery. There were five little packages: one for me, one for my husband, and one for each of our three kids.
When I think about how it came to mean so much to me it wasn’t the gifts that mattered: it was always the thought and effort that meant so much.
Even when I was a single mother of two I celebrated. One year, I encouraged my two young children to help me prepare red helium-filled balloons, anchored by chocolates and valentines cards. We spent the whole afternoon delivering them to people we knew throughout the city. I loved seeing how rewarding it was for my kids to put smiles on people’s faces.
Sure there may have been a few years when the efforts weren’t as noticeable; some years have been busier than others. But because of my parents’ past efforts on Valentine’s Day, I have continued to celebrate this day with excitement.
I can understand how some people might view Valentine’s day as overrated, focused more on spending money on lavish gifts than expressing love. After all, this is a time of the year when sales of chocolates, candy, flowers, and jewellery skyrocket.
Today, Valentine’s Day means different things to different people, regardless of its origin, and it is celebrated by people all over the world where permitted.
Many people dread the approach of Valentine’s day, preparing to hide behind closed doors perhaps pining over an unrequited love or hoping this dateless night will quickly pass.
Some people choose to wallow in misery or hope to humiliate those who are brave enough to outwardly express love on this day.
Some secretly wish they had someone to share this day with, hoping for a little token of appreciation to remind them they are loved.
If you are among those who joyously celebrate this day prepared to share your love for another person, you might be hard pressed to pass the day unscathed by negativity expressed by lonely, bitter, or angry people.
But whatever way you have viewed this day in the past, it is a new opportunity to express love. Everyone has someone to love today and that someone is you. You are the person so deserving of the first act of love and appreciation today!
What is stopping you from walking over to a mirror and telling yourself how much you love yourself or how magnificent you are? What is stopping you from telling yourself that you are amazing and worthy of a lot of kindness. I know it seems a little silly. But stop taking yourself so seriously and try it, I dare you!
Oscar Wilde said, “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” I completely agree with this sentiment.
There are so many ways you can make this day special regardless of whether you have a romantic love interest or not, or money to spend on gifts.
This day can be the beginning of a small, regular practice of expressing love and appreciation for yourself and others. who says you can’t express love in other ways besides spending money?
And if you aren’t willing to go to the extent of outward expressions of kindness to yourself or others…lighten up a bit would you!?
Allow others to express their love without interference. Hopefully, others will celebrate your decision to express love when it feels right for you.
Let today be the beginning of a practice to recognize that every day is an opportunity to let love guide your actions.
I know what I am going to do today. I am going to hope and pray I get more days with my loved ones. I am going to make this day and every other day count; appreciating the time I am given to spend with people that make me wonder how I could possibly love them anymore than I do. Hey, I might even write a love letter to myself!
I hope you have a day filled with love - for yourself and others.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Lori Q. McGavin is a Saskatoon freelance writer. Her column appears every fourth Friday in rotation with Jessica Iron Joseph, Sharon Thomas and Kevin Joseph.