On the day after Valentine’s Day, did you have a Hallmark-holiday hangover? Were there too many red roses? Too much red wine? Too many balloons to fit through the front door?
The holiday initially marked for fertility in ancient Rome morphed into romance in Victorian times. Unfortunately, in present day, it feels more like mass materialism than the true spirit of love. It’s not that I don’t think we should celebrate Valentine’s Day, it’s that I agree with my eleven-year-old son’s thought process when he asked, “Shouldn’t everyday be Valentine’s Day?”
Surprisingly, he wasn’t talking about cards and candy, nor flowers or romance. He was talking about opening our hearts and loving those around us. In his world, that includes the homeless people he chose to design a portable shelter for as a class project. Just as he’d stop to offer a hand up to a knocked-down soccer player, he’d make sure a caterpillar crossing the sidewalk completed his journey. He opens his heart to all, and not just on Valentine’s Day.
So, the question is, do we need a commercially propelled holiday to focus on love? We shouldn’t. Love is universal. It doesn’t know race or religion. It resonates with people across the world and it starts with self. As Oscar Wilde famously wrote – To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.
I would surmise that once you’ve realized self love, you’re ready to master the art of romance and relationships. And that doesn’t entail store-bought chocolates and sappy sentiments. Those just happen to be the benefits!
That said, the big picture, beyond all of the holiday hoopla, is that love conquers all. If you love yourself, love your life, and love mankind, everything else will fall into place. Then, it will be time to celebrate!