A few weeks ago I asked my brother what he was getting his girlfriend for Valentine's Day, and looking sideways at me, he matter of factly blurted out “nothing.”
He insists it is a retail holiday only. I imagine they all are, really.
You’ll be glad to know I advised him to at the very least get her a card.
My co-worker Jarrod also shares similar feelings as his column this week revealed Valentine's Day to him is a bully of a holiday. He said it comes around once a year to either shame you into spending more than you need to, or kick you while you’re down and single.
And while these men may have worthy viewpoints on cupid’s day, I think it can be a day to actually stop and pause, reflect and show appreciation for those around you who you love. And really, it doesn’t have to be about the affection you have for a lover, just those that bring you the most joy.
It’s 2020 — celebrate however you want.
A year ago I interviewed couples who had been married for 40 or 50 years, asking them all what was their secret to love and lasting relationships, hoping to get some inside secret or some fairy dust to sprinkle on my own relationship. What I found was, well, not much of anything significant.
All the couples except for one, admitted to an argument, or two, or 10. Heck one woman said she literally wanted to shoot at her husband if his behavior didn’t change. The couples differed on whether or not they went to bed upset. Some were wealthy, some weren’t. Some took vacations with the kids and some went alone.
There likely isn’t a magic trick to getting this love thing right, other than to go out and do it, to love people. Which I think is part of what Valentine's Day is about — the act of showing love.
Not just romantic love, but love in its various shapes and sizes... Kind love, tough love, fiery love, fun love, love expressed in a million different ways.
How can someone else know my heart, hear my soul, feel the aches of my love. I doubt that they can…
Love can't be squished in a box. Love doesn't point fingers. It doesn't say if you loved you would have done this. Love isn't always black and white. Love is an open book. Love knows no distance. Love is action, but sometimes it's equally quiet stillness. Love is faith. Love is when there is nothing else, you pray.
My love, and your love, and your neighbors' love might be expressed in forms that are entirely unique. There are lots of different love languages. There are books written about this very idea. I would be ashamed to think that love would find one of those expressions trumps the other. They are all just as worthy.
One of my favorite writings about love comes from Freelance Writer Courtney Walsh. She reminds us that we came from perfect love and that our love on earth is expected to be met with bumps, bruises, challenges and chaos. And tells us that it’s all a part of a journey, our learning.
You've got it all wrong.
You didn't come here to master unconditional love. This is where you came from and where you'll return.
You came here to learn personal love.
Infused with divinity.
Lived through the grace of stumbling.
Demonstrated through the beauty of... messing up.
You didn't come here to be perfect, you already are.
You came here to be gorgeously human. Flawed and fabulous.
And rising again into remembering.
But unconditional love? Stop telling that story.
Love in truth doesn't need any adjectives.
It doesn't require modifiers.
It doesn't require the condition of perfection.
It only asks you to show up.
And do your best.
That you stay present and feel fully.
That you shine and fly and laugh and cry and hurt and heal and fall and get back up and play and work and live and die as YOU.
Whatever your love story, romantic or otherwise and however you celebrate, remember love doesn’t ask for your perfection, but for you to show up and do your best over and over again if necessary.