Reclaiming Valentine’s Day

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Oh boy. Here we are: Valentine’s Day. For many of us, today ends up being painful in one way or another. Holidays in general tend to carry a lot of expectation, but Valentine’s Day tends to be a minefield.

For many of us, it’s near-impossible to live up to the mythic expectations around Valentine’s Day. And if you don’t have a partner, it’s even worse. You’re seen as flawed for being single, not good enough. Yuck.

For those of us who do have partners, we have to jump through hoops to prove our love, prove that we care enough, that we’re good enough partners. Flowers? Check. Card? Check. Extra expense for that fancy restaurant dinner that we might not be able to afford? Check. Argument that spirals out of control during fancy dinner? Check.

Ugh. It’s enough to make anyone run for the hills.

As far as I can tell, the expectations around holidays like this one inadvertently serve to separate us. Because when we don’t hit that pie-in-the-sky expectation of what Valentine’s Day “should” be, we go down in flames. We wonder what’s wrong with us, why aren’t we like our neighbors, why aren’t we like those perfect-looking parents at school, why aren’t we like those TV commercials, why aren’t we like them (whoever the “them” is that we’ve put on a pedestal). And we end up feeling even more isolated than we were to begin with.

Which, to me, is the opposite of what real love is about.

So today, I’d like to write about reclaiming love in the larger sense–not love as the romantic hoopla that’s attached to Valentine’s Day, but true love and caring, however that shows up in your life. Maybe that’s taking a moment to sit with your partner instead of expect anything from him or her. Maybe that’s spending time with a puppy (hi to Ash, our new puppy!), a good friend, or the next-door neighbor who helps you out when you’re in a bind.

Maybe it’s the warmth of the sun on a cold winter day, the bird outside your window or the hug of a loved one when you most need it. Maybe it’s a yummy cup of coffee, the feel of a warm blanket against your skin or cranking out to your favorite song.

Whatever it is, let that love and connection be real. Let it be you, and let it be true.

Happy Reclaimed Valentine’ Day, all! What are you going to celebrate today? Leave a comment below.

P.S.: Tonight is the early bird deadline for my Healing After Grief and Loss course. Click here if you’d like to join us and get $30 off the registration fee as well as a free Kindle copy of my book, The Secret Life of Grief. Use Coupon Code “EarlyBird” when you register by midnight tonight (2/14) MST to receive your goodies.

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