I normally have little to say about this Hallmark Holiday. In my opinion it is more contrived than modern-day Christmas, more exclusionary than Father’s Day and definitely more baseless than any of the other commercially popular holidays.
Valentines Day is actually based on a pagan tradition linked to fertility with very questionable links to anyone by the name of “Saint Valentine”.
Now, don’t misunderstand. I am not against love and romance. Nor am I a bitter spinster who feels jilted on Valentines Day. I have been mate-less just as often as I have been with a mate on February 14 and have no memories of feeling left out on a mate-less Valentines Day.
I didn’t realize the pressure this holiday places on singles and coupled people alike until last week when an un-coupled friend of mine expressed her chagrin for the upcoming holiday. It surprised me that a beautiful, successful and confident woman would place so much importance on this silly holiday. I wondered why this didn’t matter to me as much. Why, I wondered, was I never bothered about being single on Valentines Day?
My association with Valentines Day was never based in romantic, intimate love and here is the reason why: my brother and I always received a little something from our parents on Valentines Day, nothing elaborate, just a little something to put a smile on our faces. These days it is a simple phone call to connect and share, although my grandmother still sends Valentine cards to the family. Growing up, Valentines Day in the Asfour house was a family affair. It was a celebration of love, in all its manifestations. How very forward thinking – bravo Mama Asfour!
When it comes to relationships, Western culture places much emphasis on the idea of romantic love. If we all put the same amount of focus and effort into relationships with our siblings, parents, friends, colleagues and ourselves as we do into our romantic relationships, our lives would be richer, our hearts would be fuller and nobody would ever be without a Valentine.
This Valentines Day also marks the lunar (Chinese) New Year. A perfect time for a call to action to change our notions of love and relationships. Challenge yourself to viscerally engage in all your relationships, starting with the relationship with yourself. Love, after all, is an inside job.
Wishing you all much love and cheers to a wonderful New Year!