Celebrating Love throughout February

17Some people love Valentine’s Day and eagerly await its approach after New Year’s celebrations are over. Honestly, this is probably the greeting card, floral, candy, and jewelry industries but I’m sure that there are some people too! Others dread the day and many people are indifferent. I tend to fall into the latter category. When I was single and dating it was a day where I felt that something was supposed to happen. There was supposed to be a declaration of love and affection that just didn’t exist. Now that I’m married it seems like a random winter day that the media tells my husband to spend a lot of money on flowers (that will die) and jewelry (not gonna happen).

This year, as I’m helping to prepare kiddie Valentine’s Day cards I started considering Valentine’s Day as a celebration of love, all love. What if February 14th was a day that we honored and celebrated the different kinds of love that we experience? There is the love of lovers and partners which is different from the love of siblings and friends and parents and children. We have so many different kinds of love in our lives that we could celebrate on February 14th, the love of lovers, friends, and yourself.

There are countless ideas on the web and television to celebrate the love of lovers (i.e. dates, sweeties, “friends”, partners, spouses). Dinner, chocolates, and flowers are some of the most common ways. Spending time together doing something that you love is another way. Cuddle up on the couch and watch an episode of Scandal. Or you can cook and share a meal together, give each other massages, or take a bath together.

One of my favorite and most memorable Valentine’s Days was when my husband and I planned to have dinner downtown but a big snowstorm hit earlier in the day. We got in the car, started driving, decided that we were too hungry to wait, and went to KFC instead. Yup, my favorite Valentine’s Day was eating KFC at home, snuggled up with my husband, and watching the snow outside.

The love of friends is something that is often overlooked when talking about loving, intimate relationships. Yet they are crucial to us and as many of us can attest, I don’t know where I’d be without my sistah girls. The people we call friends, the ones who encourage us, pick us up when we fall, and call us out on our stuff, those are people who love us. Here are a few ways you can celebrate your love of your friends:

  1. Send a letter or e-mail telling them how much you love them and value their friendship. Wouldn’t it make your day to get a love letter from a friend? Give that feeling to your friend!
  2. Have a movie night to watch your favorite girlfriend movies or television shows.
  3. Host a Valentine’s Day dinner (or weekend brunch) for your friends.

If we forget to celebrate friendships as loving relationships then the idea of a loving relationship with yourself usually isn’t even on our radar. But it should be. It’s an age old idea that you can’t really love someone if you don’t love yourself. The truth in that is that you can’t be as kind and generous and loving to other people if you don’t embody that for yourself. This is certainly an on-going process and struggle for many people but make February 14th a day to practice giving love to yourself. Consider:

  1. Take and make time for you and what you want to do. Do you want to read a book? Take a bath? Take a walk? Sit and think? Decide what you want to do and make the time to do it. You might not be able to take the entire day or even several hours for yourself but can’t you make time for 30 minutes for you?
  2. Defend yourself to yourself! Defend yourself against all of the slights and mean things that you say to yourself, “How can you be so stupid? You should have known better? What’s wrong with you, get it together!” You wouldn’t allow someone to say those remarks to someone you love so don’t say them to yourself!
  3. Be kind and compassionate to yourself. Reflect on what you do love and enjoy about yourself. When you come across parts of yourself that you don’t like or want to change be honest without being mean to yourself.

Taking some time for yourself and others, writing notes, drawing baths, giving a hug or a smile are some of the simple and genuine ways that we can celebrate our love for each other and ourselves this Valentine’s Day.

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