So many rituals associated with Valentine's Day are focused on men or women making a commitment to taking care of their partners. In fact, in the Middle Ages in France and England there was a ritual where a single man picked a single girl's name out of an urn; he would then commit to taking care of her for the whole year -- love that idea! The bachelor then took it a step further, though, and would actually draw a heart on his sleeve -- which is where wearing your heart on your sleeve actually comes from!
Throughout the ages men and women continued to write love notes to each other, much as the Roman Priest Valentine did in the 3rd Century. (Read more about this here ). In the 17th and 18th century, small gifts were also exchanged at this time. Greeting cards only began to be popular in the 19th century. This was an easy way to show affection to another in a European society that was rarely overly emotional.
Yet for many people, Valentine's Day is the loneliest day of the year next to New Year's Eve. Our expectations are too often based on Hallmark greeting cards, movies, and television images of romance instead of the inherent meaning of sharing deep love. Flower shops are filled with special roses at exorbitant prices, and every supermarket displays decorative boxes of chocolates for one's sweetheart. Plus, it is almost impossible to get a reservation at a good restaurant!
If we look to others for our happiness we will constantly be on an emotional rollercoaster. Finding "the one" can be glorious, but let us not stop living while we wait for love.
This year, let us focus on self-love. Instead of expecting someone to make us feel special, let us do something to make ourselves feel special and loved on this Valentine's Day. We deserve love just because we are! And our ability to receive love makes us more able to pass that love on to our friends, co-workers, family and anyone we may encounter each day.
Remembering to nurture ourselves is an act of self-love. If we don't treat ourselves as the precious beings that we are, no one else will. And when we do look at ourselves as valuable and worthy, we tend to take better care of ourselves overall and experience more happiness in our lives.
Do something that makes you happy this Valentine's Day. Get a massage, take yourself out or cook yourself a beautiful dinner, see a great movie or show, take a class at your gym, go to a comedy club or just visit with good friends.
On this Valentine's Day, make a commitment to you.
On this appointed day, I make a sacred vow that I will always be there for myself and will support myself in times of sickness and in times of health, in times of joy and in times of sorrow.
I promise to love myself completely, to console and comfort myself during difficult times, to encourage myself to achieve my full potential, to be truthful and honest with myself, and to cherish myself for as long as I shall live.
For more by Barbara Biziou, click here.
For more on Valentine's Day, click here.