Each year on February 14th the holiday known as Valentine’s Day gets celebrated my many around the world. Chocolates, flowers and stuffed animals usually mark the occasion, along with fancy dinners and elaborate gestures of romance. But is this what showing others we love, or care for them comes down to? A few material items and forced gestures to fulfil some societal obligation?
To make sure we don’t miss this holiday, we see a conveniently increased slew of commercials from jewellery stores on television, along with other gifts that we should shower our “beloved” with. While walking into almost any store to grab something in the weeks leading up to this holiday, one cannot miss the pink and red all over, along with shelves (if not aisles) devoted to Valentine’s Day paraphernalia.
As part of the spiritual journey that my husband and I began a few years ago, we have decided to put into practice the preciousness of each day, and release societal expectations. Part of the Evolving Beings philosophy is that as nice as holidays can be, we do not need special occasions to remember someone, show them love, romance, care, respect or give them a gift, or surprise. It is just too limiting to the human spirit to be told how and when to act a certain way.
As I read more on this topic from other beings who are on their own journey of personal evolution and spiritual expansion, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of people who are choosing not celebrate this day and see right through its corporate-based agenda. To those of us who are making a commitment of expressing the highest version of ourselves on a daily basis—one rooted in love, compassion and kindness—this holiday is just another day .
Along our spiritual journey what many people often find is that it really is not about the quality of any “holiday”, but about the quality of our relationships every day. Through this essay I hope to inspire you, and free those of us who feel confined by this day to move into a new direction—a direction where love and romance is not bought, measured, or compared—but lived out daily as the natural state of our existence.
Love And Romance Before Valentine’s Day
So what happened? Did Valentine’s always exist? Definitely not! And yet we still managed to be loving and romantic minus the stuffed teddy bears, chocolates and exuberant jewelery for hundreds of thousands of years. From the beginning of time humans have found many beautiful and creative ways to express their love, care and respect for each other. Just look at nature, there are so many beautiful courting dances and signs of deep affection.
And then along came Valentine’s Day…and so many people shifted their natural state of being, into a pre-defined boxed state.
So you may think, “what’s wrong with expressing our love through chocolates, bears and flowers?” Well nothing at all – it is just another way to express care, love, respect, etc. The problem is not with how we express ourselves, but in the why and when. It always comes down to our intention, or motivation.
When we look at how Valentine’s Day is structured today, one can quickly begin to see that it does not serve the majority of people one bit. I think it can have a cute place perhaps for those in high school relationships or early dating stages – although even then, it often hurts more people than it helps. Let’s face it, Valentine’s day is set up as a commercial holiday. And if we are with someone we love, we shouldn’t need an excuse to be “nice” to them, or forced to do something because….a commercial said so. If the quality of our relationships are measured by how we celebrate such holidays, or by the gifts we buy, then perhaps we need to examine our relationships on more serious grounds.
Aside from the “why and when” therefore, it is also set up in a really unfair way to a lot of people. Think about the low income family where the husband will never be able to buy the wife a piece of expensive jewellery. While of course there are many non-materialistic ways to express love and romance – it is not making her feel any better thinking of all the women out there who are getting things she never will. The reality of course is so different. But the bottom line is that aside from being materialistic, as extra happy as some people will be that day, for every one of them or more, there are people who are extra unhappy that day thanks to society putting on unrealistic pressures.
Pressures to Measure Up
So why wait till that day? You may have been in the mood to make, do or buy something special for your sweetheart weeks ago and resisted it, thinking “I am going to wait until Valentine’s day.” Why do we do this to ourselves? The precious and only moment we have is now after all, and there is no more powerful moment than that.
What if circumstances change and that Valentine’s day never comes for you – then you missed a beautiful opportunity to express yourself. I will not mention here to dampen the mood, but I have heard many a story where the person regretted deeply not going through with their expression of affection for various reasons, some of which you can imagine. And what if when that day comes and you are not even in the mood to do action x, y, or z – should you still be forced to go through with it?
There are 3 main reasons why so many of us do not express love, romance, care, respect or kindness daily, only to have to wait for that day. They are as follows:
Deep inside many of us don’t want to do an expression of love on a regular day (for whatever reason) but of course feel forced to do it THAT day.
Need an Excuse
Life gets in the way, each day may be too busy, lived too separate, so many people force themselves that day because that is what society says to do.
Some people just need that push to move them in a certain direction. The idea of having no motivation to do it on other days may however be indicative of a deeper issue, as we can see that people who really like (never mind love each other) are motivated daily to treat each other in the best ways they can think of.
All of this also boils down to many men especially, feeling the pressure most and not even thinking twice about not following through on this holiday. Many feel it is what is expected of them, or some way determines the quality of his affection for her. Many women on the other end of the spectrum unjustly feel that if Valentine’s Day does not meet their expectation, it must mean that he doesn’t take me seriously enough, or treat me the way I should be, or some other similar array of thoughts and feelings. Both of these paradigms of course do not serve any of us one bit.
Advice for Both for Having a Great Valentine’s Day-ly
Communicate, communicate and communicate!
This is the number one thing to not just having a happy Valentine’s day, but to having a happy “every day”.
I once had a female friend who always complained that her partner never got her flowers, especially on Valentine’s Day. When I asked her if she mentioned to him something about this and how much it would mean to her, she replied “I shouldn’t have to say anything – he should know this kind of stuff.” Point and case – no he shouldn’t. Some women like flowers, and some don’t care much for them. The same goes for jewellery, chocolates, bears, trinkets or whatever you can think of.
One of the biggest reasons why we end up getting disappointed on days like Valentine’s day, is that we put into our minds preconceived notions of what we expect of our partner, and then what we will be sharing with our friends, family or co-workers. And if our partner does not deliver according to our expectations, resentment starts to build, comparisons start to be made, and the foundation of the relationship begins to crumble. But how is this fair, especially if you have not voiced your preferences?
To drive the point across another way, I once had a male friend say that he is just not into expressing himself romantically, nor did he believe in the whole flowers-bears-chocolates thing. What happened was that he did not express this to his new partner and you can imagine where that lead to. She kept thinking he was cold and didn’t care enough, and he just did what he felt was right to him, while showing her love and romance in other ways.
Therefore communicate, and be fair to your partner. If your partner wants and likes regular hugs and kisses and you don’t – that needs to be communicated and discussed in terms of how both parties will be fulfilled. There are many more examples where we can take this, but I am sure you get the point.
So if you love Valentine’s Day and want to celebrate it in a traditional way, then go ahead and have fun, but communicate that expectation to your partner. If you want to celebrate love every day—even better, but establish that with your partner as well.
Advice for Her
The best piece of advice that I would love to share with women so that you may free yourself from the confines of Valentine’s Day expectations is this:
Do not judge your self worth through how your partner expresses themselves on that day—or ever.
Maybe he will get you a material gift or plan a romantic evening, and maybe he won’t. This in no way should be an indicator of how much he loves, or respects you. And no, it is not fair to tell him you really don’t want anything, but secretly hope and wait that he ends up getting you something anyway. There is no point of playing games with them or yourself.
If you want love and romance, be the example and give love and romance. If it is not reciprocated, once, twice and after talking about it – then perhaps you should be thinking more consciously as to whether the partner you are with is in alignment with who you are.
Love, romance and all the rest of the wonderful things should be felt everyday and not reserved for, or judged by one day.
Advice for Him
My advice to men is not to feel obligated to do anything that you do not want to do on Valentine’s Day, or any other day for that matter. Be yourself, and free yourself from the whole commercialism and obligation of this day. After all most women will much rather appreciate daily respect, kindness and support over some once-a-year gift. By being yourself you will also better attract the mate that is most suited for you. So on that note:
Always be yourself! If you want to be romantic, be romantic! Don’t think of what other guys would think of you. If you don’t want to be romantic, don’t be romantic. Just be sure to clearly communicate your standards with your partner.
If you really love and care for your partner and want to express the loving and considerate being that you are, then allow it to come naturally. Allow it to come daily in so many beautiful and unexpected ways, not just on one day when it is almost “forced” out of you.
If a man is really in love with a woman, then doing nice little things for her daily is part of his pleasure, not a chore and something he actually looks forward to. There are after all infinite ways to express who we are in this physical experience as loving, caring, respectful beings.
The truth is that we should not need motivation, or excuses, or feelings of obligation to act a certain way. You want love, be the love. You want romance, show the romance. You want respect, give the respect. Bottom line, if you are really deeply in love, united and committed, you just don’t need this or any other excuse to express your love to each other. You see something you like for them, buy it. If you want to touch them through a massage or kiss – just do it. You want to have a romantic night out – plan it and go through with it on any day that serves you both.
When you incorporate expressions of love, care and respect each day, they become much more meaningful to both parties. The quality of your relationship soars!
After all, why do we let those feelings that brought us together in the first place fade away? They felt and feel wonderful so indulge in them daily!!!! You may become amazed at how much more satisfaction and happiness you will find in all other areas of your life thanks to this.
In conclusion, the purpose of any relationship is to express yourself and hopefully in the highest version, and can you imagine if you leave that for just one day? You are actually depriving your soul and your spirit of its natural state of being.
You got together with this person because you felt a special connection to them and it felt wonderful. No matter your job, or how many kids you have or what economical situation you are in – you can still always have that. Don’t let the illusions of life get in the way, because when you have each other – you can take on anything that comes your way, and that is more priceless than any gift that Valentine’s Day can provide!
By the way, if you are not in a relationship, it is still possible to feel “Valentine’s Day-ly!”. Do you know how many people there are in our society that need a nice word, a hug or some other gesture of kindness? Don’t sit around at home moping that you are “alone” – you never are! Remember, if you want love – be the love! Get out and volunteer at a teen group home, a hospital nursery or a senior’s residence and allow yourself to feel love and kindness beyond what you can imagine. Acts of love and service for others will lead you to seeing how possible it is to have love daily no matter what situation you are in!