Isn't it funny how the mythology of our human love lives involves a fat, flying, diapered baby wielding a deadly weapon? This whimsical creature (and icon of Valentine's Day) sees two people and shoots them down with his bow and arrow -- apparently a skilled act of violence makes people instantly fall in love!
So it makes sense our cultural mythology of Valentine's Day can be viewed similarly -- childlike, immature, over-bloated, s***-y, and even harmful to ourselves (or our self-esteem at least) -- especially if we choose to believe it's only for romantic couples. I can't count the number of un-coupled people pronouncing February 14 as "National Singles Awareness Day" or "Black Thursday." And the commercialization of the day doesn't help by wrapping us up in expectations; everywhere it's cards, chocolates, flowers that makes us feel left out if we're not receiving.
Now, I'm not knocking romance or people in relationships. What I am knocking is a narrow-mindedness (or can I say "single"-mindedness) when it comes to the holiday. In fact, the mysterious origins of Valentine's Day -- and its said protagonist, St. Valentine -- is more of the heroic kind of love than the kiss-y kind. As the martyrology goes, St. Valentine was jailed for continuing to secretly marry young lovers, defying Romans rules in the third century that insisted single men made better soldiers. For this he was sentenced to death and later named for the holiday celebrating lovers. But his act of love was his act of service to the soldiers.
Myths are set up to point us to a larger truth. And if we look deeper, we can uncover the true nature of love -- and a more empowering, all-encompassing meaning for Valentine's Day. In a Charlie Brown Christmas kind of way, it's amazing how a holiday can transform when you embrace its deeper meaning.
So, as has become my own yearly tradition, I encourage all of you -- single, coupled or complicated -- to channel the true power of this very important day. It's the day of love, and there's nothing more important all year. So, use it to give love, show gratitude and appreciation to all those people who've touched your life this year -- whether it's giving them a gift, a hug or a simple call. Bring flowers to your perpetually single best friend, call your grandparent you've been meaning to talk to, make some homemade soup or cookies for that person who did you that big favor this year. Honestly, it will make you feel incredible! And that's really what the day is about: spreading love, being of service, expressing your positive emotions and feeling good. And no fat, flying baby is gonna burst that bubble!
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