by Linda Commito '72
Many people have mixed feelings about Valentine's Day, but despite the commercialism and the fact that we may not have a romantic interest in our life, it seems no one wants to give up the holiday.
Perhaps it's because we still hold fond memories of our first Valentine's Day experience or we have a broader perspective of what February 14th symbolizes. Or perhaps like St. Valentine, for whom the day is named, we just don't want to give up on love.
As a child, I loved decorating a paper bag with various cutout hearts and hanging it on the chalk rail alongside those of my classmates. Later, I could hardly wait to peer in and see how many brightly colored "Be my valentine" cards had been secretly placed inside.
In high school, I was happy to receive a card and a single red rose, or a dozen, from a boy I cared about. I was a romantic even back then.
Children still love exchanging valentine cards. I recently heard that one high school sold Valentine's Day carnations as part of a fundraiser. In classrooms, flowers, cards and balloons are still hand-delivered by teens who may be "sweet on" a classmate.
Going Beyond Romance
But why does Valentine's Day have to be just about romantic connections? What if it was a day to celebrate love in all of its manifestations? How could we make it more inclusive of everyone rather than just focusing on a romantic partner?
One young man, Andy, when he was a freshman in college, was living in a co-ed dorm and anonymously bought a rose for each of the young women, leaving it at their door on Valentine's Day morning so it would be the first thing that they would see when they went out.
Valentine's Day is a great opportunity to acknowledge those we love-friends, family and others. One friend, Deana, calls it a "love holiday." It's a wonderful reminder to put more love into our interactions with others, whether they are friends, parents, children, a co-worker or someone that we just happened to meet. There are so many ways to express a heart connection... hugs, smiles, and saying "I love you" with more frequency and ease. Rarely do I greet friends without a hug, and it's natural to end a conversation with "Love you!"
Everyone is different and we all have our own unique ways of letting others know that we care. Although I make an effort every day to let the people in my life know how special they are to me, I must admit that I love taking it up a notch on Valentine's Day.
For instance, I enjoy sending Valentine cards to my friends, especially to those who are single. When I facilitate meetings for a group of women business owners, I love giving each of them a beautiful red rose, a card, and chocolates on Valentine's Day. And the other day, two pairs of cozy, cuddly fleece pj's were sent to my mom and to a good friend in the northwest with warm "Happy Valentine's Day" messages of love. And I even bought a pair for myself!
We don't need special days set aside to honor those we love. For instance, my dad buys my mom a bouquet of fresh flowers every couple of weeks. There's a lot to be said about such spontaneous gestures of love.
And that perhaps is one of the key reasons why we love Valentine's Day - we all want to be acknowledged and loved. So instead of focusing only on that special person in our life, or being disappointed that we don't have one, perhaps we could use this Valentine's Day to open our hearts wider to others and let them know how much we care.
How can you make Valentine's Day and every day a celebration of love?
Linda Commito is the author of Love Is the New Currency.
Go to www.loveisthenewcurrency.com to find out more.
For more information, contact Communications and Media Relations at 508-565-1321.