In Latin America, they have a love-themed holiday called the day of love and friendship. I adore that. It is so much more inclusive and reminds you to buy your friends goofy balloons not cling to your so-so relationship until Feb 15th so you don’t have to spend the 14th alone. The horror! While yes, incorporating friendship perhaps makes it even more of a commercial holiday (shock me shock me) it feels like a sweeter holiday.
You are given an opportunity to go out of your way to appreciate your friends and family, not just your relationship-if-you-happen-to-have-one. It encourages a look around your community, and a genuine celebration of these people. Yes it get schmaltzy, but so goes.
I LOVE sending Valentines. When I was in school I used to make fairly complicated ones for my friends. I love taking the time to show them that I care and that Valentines Day doesn’t need to be a fight between contrived and cynical. Anyone can send out a sweet card, to anyone else.
As I get older, I get less attached to having my Valentines arrive on the 14th. Everyone loves getting something special in the mail, the 14th of February doesn’t have a lock on that. In fact, it’s more unexpected and delightful when they arrive a few days early or weeks late.
Because here’s the thing – you don’t need to wait until February 14th to express love. And you don’t need to stop once the 15th rolls around. This should be an all the time experience because love, appreciation, friendship and support exist year round.
There is so much more love in our lives than what comes from one Big Relationship. Don’t get me wrong, they’re great, and often bring out more love and wonderfulness in us, but it’s not as if without one we are devoid of love, which is how Valentines Day can get spun. We are loving creatures with so much capacity to give. We can control how much love we experience today (and everyday) because we control how much love we give.
Right now, this moment, you have the capacity to smile. So smile! Share your radiance with the world. Smile at the mailman, smile on your lunch break, dial up the love and beauty that you exude into the world. If smiling comes easy to you, practice noticing and appreciating things about other people – then tell them! (Don’t just think it!) Share your smiles and appreciation with everyone, you never know who is going to appreciate it most.