Valentine’s Day was one of my most dreaded holidays for most of my single adult life.
I dreaded that urgent sounding message on TV…“Have you found that special something for that special someone in your life?”
I dreaded those commercialized glamorized accessorized “Must-Haves” for the season – plump roses, candy hearts, and Hallmark cards.
Most of all, I dreaded the sight of couples walking around holding hands or kissing on the streets.
Yes, I was jealous. And yes, I felt pressured to have that special someone in my life who would give me something special, or to get something special for that special someone. Even during those years when I was dating, I still felt that Valentine’s Day was overwhelmingly oppressive in a commercial consuming way.
So three years ago, I decided to ignore the singular focus on the romantic aspect of Valentine’s Day, and to pay closer attention to the people in my life whom I love but have neglected. Admittedly, those people include my family in Hong Kong, my relatives in America, longtime friends and neighbors, close friends I grew up with but have grown apart. I began sending flowers to some, cards to others and love messages on Facebook to convey my care.
Incredibly, since I switched focus from the sight and sound of what surrounded me to the still small voice within me reminding me of the many friends and families whom I’d overlooked or undervalued, Valentine’s day suddenly became bigger, more purposeful and meaningful.
Since I found Prince Charming two years ago, my Valentine’s Day has also changed dramatically. Yes he sends flowers, cards and love notes. But he doesn’t just do those things on Valentine’s Day. He does so frequently on our monthly anniversary and whenever he feels moved to do so. He also shows me how to share love and care beyond our circle of friends and family including the homeless and the hungry on the street. For years, he had taken care of those who are ignored on Valentine’s Day, Christmas, New Year and other holidays by giving what he has whenever he can.
Charity, generosity and an open heart are powerful ways to show love any day. The minute we expand the practice of love beyond the romantic notion, the more we can experience the deeper dimensions of what truly gives us joy. That “special something for special someone” can be anything from our heart for anyone in need on any day.