I refuse to be one of those people spewing bitterness about Valentine’s Day. As a single person, no, it’s not my favorite holiday. But it wasn’t my favorite holiday when I was coupled either. Aside from the pricey prix fixe dinner menus, the reason being, Valentine’s Day is limiting. This concept of “romantic love,” that it’s the only kind of love that is transcendent or important, is just dumb. It sets you up for failure. If you don’t have it, does that mean you’re unloved or unlovable? Um, NO! Really, we all have access to many different forms of love, and if we’re wise, we are pursuing all of them and not just putting all of our love eggs in one basket. It’s easy to forget that. So, I’ve taken a few moments to reflect upon some really simple ways to invite more love in this Valentine’s Day that have nothing to do with romantic love.
1. Loving thoughts. It’s soooo easy to have unloving thoughts; toward your extra layer of stomach chub or that person who just shoved you on the subway or that co-worker who’s always putting you down or even that difficult-to-get-along-with family member. We all have more than ample opportunity to indulge in negative thoughts. I know I’m guilty. Something to try: spend an entire day thinking loving thoughts. That’s it. When you hear your mind thinking that shitty thing, stop yourself. Replace that thought with a loving thought. My stomach chub is cute. I’m sure that person didn’t mean to shove me. Just for one day. You can do it.
2. Say something nice. Take those loving thoughts a step further and turn them into loving words. Just give someone a compliment for no fucking reason. A really juicy, genuine one. Not like Nice scarf. Something that makes them feel seen. You’re the funniest person in the world to me. I like having you around. It should be genuine, of course. Just do it and see how it changes the love quotient in the room.
3. Put out. I’m not talking about sex. I’m talking about love. When I’m having a “feeling unloved” day, instead of feeling sorry for myself, I up my love output. I send a text message and ask how something important went for a friend. I find pictures of Jerri Blank and shih tzu puppies and post them on Facebook walls. I call my grandmother, even though I despise talking on the phone, just because I know it will make her happy. I crack a smile at a stranger. Love is one of those things that boomerangs back when you give it. So, put out A LOT. Be a love slut.
4. Spread your passion. Doing things you’re passionate about is a form of love. It’s a way to put your love out there in the world. It can be anything really. Bake a cake, build something, go rock climbing, do karaoke. It sounds really simplistic, but it works.
5. Gratitude. Take some time and focus on what you have right this minute, not what wish you had. Duh, I know. But seriously, all those silly Valentine’s Day commercials with wine/roses/chocolate/diamond rings on fingers can make us feel like we’re missing something. We’re not. You have all the love you need, now go appreciate it.