Each holiday exists for a purpose
That purpose may be to celebrate the birth of a famous leader or contributor to uniqueness of the planet. It may be to honor heroes or workers. It may be to mark a seasonal milestone such as the harvest or the beginning of a new year. Valentine’s Day has a special purpose. It marks a time to express love, commitment, and caring.
While Cupid’s status as the god of love dates back to classical mythology, the name “Valentine’s Day” honors a saint who reportedly secretly married Roman soldiers that Emperor Claudius II had forbidden to marry because he believed that single men made better fighters. Over time, it has become a secular holiday in many countries devoted to expressions of love and caring.
Like so many holidays, the emphasis on selecting gifts, choosing the restaurant for dinner, and locating the biggest or funniest or most unusual card has supplanted any thinking or feeling about the purpose of the holiday. I’ve known some couples who exchange valentines in their obligatory way, but don’t even wait until the day is concluded before returning to a pattern of indifferent or even negative interactions.
Valentine’s Day has evolved into a holiday with a wonderful purpose. There are so many wonderful ways to display it. If you have a spouse or significant other whom you love, let that person know about it in words and deeds – not only in gifts. If you have a network of friends, be sure to send them valentines but also let them know how much you appreciate how meaningful their friendships are to you. If you find yourself alone at this time, find ways to share that love and positive emotion that you have with others who may be lonely – now, or in the future if it is not convenient to do so today.
Everyone should also send themselves a valentine – either physically or inside their head. Use part of the day to honor those things that you particularly like about yourself. Appreciate those parts of you that make yourself unique and lovable (don’t be embarrassed to apply that word to yourself).
And when you are done celebrating Valentine’s Day, pledge to carry out the purpose of the day so that you can widen the circle of those to whom you demonstrate love, commitment, and caring – while strengthening the specialness of the romantic love that you may have for someone who is particularly special.