This morning I was sitting on my couch and reached into the little heart-shaped dish on my coffee table (which is actually an old trunk), and plucked out a little Dove chocolate. Gently, as the foil has a tendency to tear quite easily, I unwrapped it and gazed down at the message beaming up at me: “Believe in those you love.” Heat filled me from the inside and silent tears started to spill. Countless memories came flooding back of times this message has made an appearance in my life, whether in words, deeds, or feelings.
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner (as in 12 hours from now) and, quite honestly, I’ve never really celebrated Valentine’s Day. I remember making little cards and buying treats for each of my classmates in elementary school, and I received a chocolate rose when I was 12 from a “secret admirer”, but I’ve never shared Valentine’s Day with a special someone which kind of made the whole holiday irrelevant. And while I love love, and am all about celebrating love, I have mixed feelings about Valentine’s Day. Part of me has always disliked the holiday because it’s a Hallmark Holiday and I don’t think we should need a day to show people we love them or care about them. We should be doing that every day in just how we treat others. I’ve never cared about chocolates or flowers (although I did love the chocolate rose) that are the trademarks of this day. I prefer small actions of kindness or simple gestures of affection in everyday life, and if you do want to do something big and special for someone you love, why do you need a designated day to do it? But then, I love Valentine’s Day because I love love and there are people who have a hard time expressing their love to others and truly special moments do come out of this day…..and there is an endless supply of chocolate everywhere you go.
I never got to do anything special for Valentine’s Day and once upon a time that made me sad. This year, too, I won’t be spending it with the one I love. In fact, I’m working tomorrow! 11-9. But when I come home I’ll still be able to crack open a bottle of wine and spend time with my roommate (if she doesn’t make other plans) and that in itself is a very special way to celebrate. I’m brought back to those valentines we wrote in elementary school, and our teachers were on to something. We kids were always hoping there’d be a special note meant just for us, and we’d dismiss the others. But those were special too. When we think of Valentine’s Day we think of romantic love, but it’s a day meant for all kinds of love. Love for our friends, for our family, for ourselves even. Do something special for someone in your life, even if it’s small, to show them you appreciate them. Leave a little sticky note on the bathroom mirror for your roommate, give your parents or grandparents a call, or you can even embrace your inner child and make valentines for all of your friends (I realize we’re running out of time, but when there’s a will, there’s a way!). But, Valentine’s Day and the traditional festivities aside…
Believe in the ones you love.
That’s something you can give every day and every moment. I think believing in someone you love is a very powerful way to love them. We are flawed beings and we are broken beings. We have pasts and we have fears. We make mistakes and we are wronged. We break hearts and get our hearts broken. Believe in the good. Believing in the bad and the bitterness is a choice that you make. Believe in the beauty. If you look hard enough, you can see it. Believe that it’s true. Not just in others, but in yourself, too. It’s there inside of everyone, even if it’s not easily seen. Believe in the future. Our pasts hold us back, but the future can be beautiful if you choose to make it so.
Also, even if you don’t have a date for tomorrow night, you are not unloved. Valentine’s Day is a horrible way to measure how much you are loved, and I know there are people who do that. Spend the night with a good friend who’s Valentine’s Day plans fell through or didn’t even exist in the first place. Spend it with your roommate or your girls. Go to an anti-Valentine’s Day party if you feel so inclined! Even if you don’t spend it with anybody, pop in A Charlie Brown Valentine or Gossip GIrl or a horror film and paint your toes and take a bath with lavender bath salts or one of those delightful oatmeal and Shea butter bath bombs from Lush! Try making a new recipe and ordering takeout when you set the kitchen on fire. Spend the night with Rachel, Monica and Phoebe and have a boyfriend burning ritual…wrong choice of words…and accidentally set the place on fire and wait for the cute firemen to come! (Foolproof plan, I’m telling ya)
….OR you can curl up, watch the snow, and crack open a new book 🙂
So this Valentine’s Day, and every day hereafter, remember that you are not unloved. And, if nothing else, go to someone you love and simply say, “I believe in you.” That’s a love that more of this world needs.