It’s the first major holiday of the year (I mean, you can’t miss it with all the pink and red in every store), and it is wrapped in mystery as to its origins. Like some other major holidays of the year, it seems to be a Christian holiday derived from a popular pagan ritual. And that ritual is all about fertility (and apparently some lottery where the women of the town were matched up with single men). There is even some disagreement as to which St. Valentine is being celebrated, but ultimately the holiday has evolved into a celebration of love.
But in our culture, the pressure of exactly how one shows that love on Valentine’s Day seems to be over the top. Extravagant gifts, extravagant trips. Bigger, better, filtered depictions of life. Buy all the cards, flowers, chocolates, jewelry. And the ones we need to hold close, we keep a selfie-length distance away. And we do it all in a style that comes across easy.
The reality is that relationships are hard. And not just the romantic ones. Every relationship brings heartbreak and disappointment, and joy and fulfillment. It takes active, intentional work to maintain healthy and vibrant relationships. I think celebrating the people in your life who support you, who stick around through the mess and chaos, is vitally important.
This year, I’ve been trying to look intentionally on my decisions to find out if I’m making them out of a spirit of conviction or a spirit of people pleasing. Whether I’m doing something because I feel like I’m supposed to, or if I really actually want to participate.
Before any plans were made this year, I thought about why we do the things we do on Valentine’s Day. It was really good and healthy to take inventory of our why. So, a couple of things I want to incorporate this year:
- First, I want to be a little more private with how I celebrate. There is this running joke that says if you don’t post about it, it didn’t happen. But perhaps not posting about any of the details might be a bit refreshing and help me live more in the moment. This isn’t a judgment call on what other people decide to do, by the way (because public declarations of love and recorded memories have their place as well). This is just a me thing.
- Second, I want to broaden the holiday. I want to take a moment to sit down and write to some of the relationships in my life that need to be celebrated. And this is a great opportunity to do just that.
I don’t need to reinvent the wheel. But I do need to be aware and intentional about the choices I make in life, despite what may be expected of me by others. This particular holiday can be an opportunity to be the kind of intentional that I want to be. Maybe let go of the clutter of this holiday and focus on the simple and sweet that really reflects my relationships. It doesn’t have to be fancy to be special.
However way you choose to celebrate, if you even want to celebrate at all, I hope you find joy and connection this month with friends and family. I know this day can be hard, lonely, and isolating. But the truth is you are not alone, you are so very loved, and you are so very, very precious. Happy Valentine’s Day, friends!