I am not the biggest fan of Valentine’s Day.
The heart-shaped boxes hold no meaning to me with the exception of the rich caramel-infused and nutty chocolates that lie inside the box that give my palate a sense of sensual satisfaction. The soft and sad-faced stuffed animals that grip tightly to their “Be Mine” satin red pillows make me cringe. The red and pink roses will die and their stench will turn to the sour perfumed scent that just makes me sick to my stomach.
I can read your mind. You jump to the immediate and typical conclusion that I am a bitter single spinster who must be Anti-Valentine’s Day because I am single and without the “perfect” man to shower me with the love I so crave and am empty of. You may even imagine me as desperate and wallowing in shame as I search for flawless personal ads on match.com or eharmony. You are most likely filled with pity that I have yet to experience a half to make me whole.
The truth is that I teeter on the edge of disdain for Valentine’s Day because it touches upon the division of the haves (aka: couples) versus the have-nots (aka: singles). Guess what? The Haves always win over the Have-Nots in this society. We live in a world where single is seen as the plague and that certainly something must be wrong with someone who is solo. Valentine’s Day magnifies the mass majority societal view that singles must pitiful and pathetic for not having a partner to fill and fulfill a void that supposedly exists from being alone.
Alas, there is a distinct difference between alone and lonely. Just because someone is alone does not mean that this someone is lonely. Sometimes, someone can only feel an engulfing sense of loneliness even in the most crowded of rooms with plastic-smiled people who are wall to wall. Other times, someone can only feel so content when all alone in a room. Please do not mistaken a physical alone-ness as loneliness, nor one who is in physical contact with so many as not feeling the greatest sense of loneliness that can drive a person to do what can only harm and hurt rather than help and heal. Please do not think that singles battle loneliness, while couples never battle loneliness. One thing I am most certain of is that loneliness is the greatest enemy that can drive a person to do the unthinkable, unspeakable, unexplainable, unexpected, and unwanted.
How about we now take loneliness, alone, and lonely up notches to love of and for the self?
My only morsel of love for the Valentine’s Day holiday is it is indeed about LOVE. However, the love portrayed and pushed upon on Valentine’s Day is other-love, while self-love is completely unknown. Undoubtedly, there is a need for love to go around the world and back. We need more love in this world. We need to say and show how much we do love, value, and treasure the people in our lives. Yet, before we share and spread love around to others and gain the respect and depths of a relationship or connection with others, love first and foremost need to come from thyself.
Love Thyself. Self-Love. Words you have not heard of, but your interest is piqued to learn more. So, let me tell you the true meanings of “Love Thyself” and “Self Love.”
Contrary to popular societal belief, life is not fulfilled by love from and by others. “Others” are people, places, and things. Surrounding us are inanimate objects, furry pets who give us unconditional love, and people that we are certain will make us whole, complete, happy, and better. Life is filled when there is love for thyself. Happiness and Love stem from thyself to then radiate to others and beyond. Sense of comfort and content in your own skin come prior to a true and mutual connection forming and solidifying. But, this is a difficult, challenging, and nearly impossible concept to achieve, because we have always been coached and cajoled by the reverse that self-love occurs only AFTER there has been other-love. Self-love seems utterly selfish on the surface, but it is full of substance that demands attention, work, and progress—extremely daunting tasks to even try to do, much less make happen with results.
I ask you truly look yourself in a mirror to ask and answer these questions: Do you love yourself? Truly, love yourself? Respect yourself? Are you happy and content in your very own company first? Do you feel like you have a void that can only be filled by others? Are you lonely when you are alone? Has loneliness driven you to do all that has hurt you?
On this Valentine’s Day, I wish you to celebrate love in the general sense, love for others who enhance and make you better, love for your life you lead and live, but, most of all, love for thyself.