Today is a weighted day. For those of you who’ve lost a loved one, Valentine’s Day can be excruciating. Holidays in general tend to be more painful after loss, but this one in particular carries that much more extra baggage.
For those who don’t have a partner, the holiday is painful in a different way. In our society, single people tend to be seen as being somehow flawed, or not good enough.
For those of us who do have partners, we still have to jump through hoops to prove our love, prove that we care enough, that we’re good enough. Flowers? Check. Card? Check. Expensive restaurant where we don’t really want to eat? Check. Argument that breaks out during expensive meal? Check.
Ugh. It’s enough to make anyone run for the hills.
As far as I can tell, the expectations around days like today 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 we’re not like our friends or neighbors, why we’re not like those TV commercials, why we’re not 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.
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 a puppy (hi, Ash!), 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 the feeling of dancing around to your favorite song.
Maybe it’s the sound of your pen scratching across the page, the sound of your favorite song playing on the stereo, the sight of your favorite photo propped up on the mantle or the scent of your favorite meal cooking in the oven.
Whatever love is to you, let it be real and true. Because you get to decide what the word love means to you, my dear. Today and always.
Remember: true love doesn’t just come around once a year. It’s always here, and it’s always available.
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 receive 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.