I have had many types of Valentine’s Days over the years. The one thing about it is, I love every kind … single or attached, I love this holiday! What the world needs now is love! What does this mean, though, when I’m having a bad day? What does this mean when I’m single or in a complicated relationship? Luckily love comes in many forms. Love is the longing for goodness, justice, beauty, and wholeness. It’s everywhere you look. Plants even lovingly lean toward the sun that provides them nourishment.
Several years ago, as a single lady, I had one of the best Valentine’s Days ever. My father had passed away recently, and I felt tired of suffering, as he had a long illness the year before. I decided that I wanted to simply spread some joy that day. Well, first things first, right? I started the day taking extra good care of myself, wearing clothes that made me feel like a million bucks, drank some fancy coffee that I would never have normally treated myself with and hit the road. I picked (roughly) a million flowers with my trusty pocket knife that I carried for just these occasions. [I take this moment to apologize if I stole any flowers from yards that were not mine. I was a teenager, and knew nothing of privately owned flowers.] I also wrote the corniest jokes and positive affirmations on some tiny pieces of scrap paper and left them on random people’s cars that were parked around town.
At the time I didn’t think much of it; it honestly just seemed like a fun idea. Looking back now, I realize it was one of the most enjoyable days of my life. I have no idea if anyone laughed at the jokes, or if anyone even noticed any flowers before they turned their windshield wipers on. Love is about starting with yourself and also how we treat others. By taking care of yourself, you’re already taking great leaps in how your interactions with others will go. Below are some things to consider while operating in relationships of any kind. With so many ways to show love, many are thinking of what we can DO for others. It can just as easily be about what you don’t do as well.
When a loved one comes to you to share or vent about something negative about their day, try listening to them, and letting them come to a natural finish in the conversation and at that point, just say something profound, such as, “That sucks.” Unsolicited advice can alienate people. If they ask for advice, or seem to be conveying “I don’t know what to do” then this would be a great time to offer some supportive advice. I’ve noticed across the board, in all relationships, that we want to have the answers for our loved ones. This is sweet and very well intended but sometimes people need simple things. Holding their hand, offering a shoulder, and Lending an ear can be some of the best ways we can show others we care.
Just listening is often enough, give it a try.
Embrace forgiveness. Did someone you love do something that you’re finding hard to get past? If someone did something and the thought of it brings up pain, jealousy, and destructive emotions, then you haven’t let it go. A lot of us are using up a lot of energy by choosing not to forgive, and the choice absolutely is yours. This doesn’t mean you forget. The day you have the memory without the pain, you will be free and have truly forgave. As you’re getting ready for bed at night, try this exercise that will help you on your path to forgiveness. Allow your thoughts to slow down and after a few minutes, imagine the person that you haven’t yet forgiven. Now silently say: “(Insert name): I release you, I forgive you, I wish the best for you. Now, we are both free to live healthy, joyous lives.” Repeat this several times a week before drifting off to sleep. Even if you don’t want that person in your life, you can still wish the best for them. This is a way to release the suffering associate with that person or event. The extra goodness is that you’re practicing kindness and care for yourself at the same time by no longer carrying that burden.
Let important people in your life know they matter without prompting. If you think of them, send them a note in the mail, a quick text, or simply say, “I’m glad you’re here.” Out of the blue thoughtfulness sinks in, and makes people feel important. Everyone is important, so let’s not let them forget.
Whatever you do this lovely month, I hope it’s filled with creative expressions of love. For those who perhaps don’t like Valentine’s Day, be kind to us. We are merely hopeful dreamers, forging St. Valentine’s signature on our love notes to whomever.