Better Valentines Goals

Garden compote of ranunculus and roses. Designed by Jessica Ormond Events. Photo by Kelly Sweet.
Kelly Sweet Photography

Valentines can be a mixed bag, right?

Sometimes sweet and fun. After-all, focusing on loving and celebrating each other—as humans endowed with dignity and worth—is a good thing.

But sometimes it’s kitsch and forced, another area for comparison. A reminder of something we think we lack.

At this stage in my life Valentine’s Day is:  Sometimes exchanging cards, gifts with my husband. Sometimes not. Finding fun ways to remind my boys that they are loved; while also resetting their culture-fed expectation that all holidays need to have bigger, better, more elaborate gifts. Class parties and store-bought valentines. (Because I quickly jumped off that Pinterest Mom train.) And, of course deciding if I’m going to work extra by adding Valentines flowers to my offerings each year.

Oh, but I remember that gnawing desire to receive a tangible token that I was special, loved. The wistfulness when Valentines celebrations and gifts were recounted the next day at the office. In school, I was equally envious of balloons and flowers gifted by parents as those gifted by boyfriends as I spied them in the halls.

As with all symbols it wasn’t about the red flowers or bright pink balloons. (I would have died of embarrassment to actually carry balloons around). It was the physical marker that someone cared, thought she was worth the effort.

Who hasn’t, at some point, felt the tightening of longing in your heart, the desire to be seen, known? The trigger might have been Valentines, or it might be a different marker. We want to feel loved, to hear that there is something unique and valuable about us. We aren’t good at remembering our worth; especially worth that is independent of our achievements or societal ranks.

May I suggest that the magic of Valentines isn’t romantic love, it isn’t even self-love, it is the reminder to love our people with intention?

It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.

Mother Theresa

Towards the end of high school, before Galentines was a thing, I stopped focusing so much on what I was or wasn’t getting and instead became driven to make sure my friends and the girls I mentored felt special. I looked for ways to give gifts, as simple as a single flower, and encouragement to them. Especially around Valentines. The responses changed my perspective of the power of both affirmation and beauty.

As life has filled, I confess, I have become less intentional in this area.

So, I know it’s 11th hour but can I challenge you, and me, to go out of your way to honor and love those closest to you? Or, that person who may not be especially close, but you know needs extra encouragement?

It can be a traditional Valentines gift. Or it can be a note. (How fun would it be to give out cutesy elementary-style valentines to your family or friends?) Or, through helping and serving.

Do what you can today. But, let’s also make belated Valentines a thing! Look for opportunities this weekend and next week.    

Loving people isn’t simply feeling good about them.

Love means, celebrating, encouraging, pursuing, and showing other’s their own good.

Love means, celebrating, encouraging, pursuing, and showing other’s their own good.

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