I'm feeling compelled to take back Valentine's Day.
Take it back from the greeting card manufacturers, the florists, and even from Facebook, where all I see today are updated profile pictures of couples with hearts bursting all over them.
It's not that I am skeptical or pessimistic or cranky about love. Quite the contrary, actually. I believe in Big Love. But that's not what this is about. This is about the fact that it feels like such an exclusive holiday. Like if you don't fit into this romantic, couple mold of who celebrates Valentine's Day, then you're excluded from the holiday altogether.
Since having children, I enjoy celebrating with them...my daughter loves to have fondue as a tradition (although I'm not sure how I'm going to manage that on a Tuesday when she has dance for a few hours in the evening). And one year, I did my one and only Pinterest activity, when I did the "heart attack" on the kids' bedroom doors...every paper heart telling them something that I love about them. But this holiday, like so many others, has turned into one about gifts and candy.
I also just heard about Galentine's Day -- which I guess has been around for a while, but I only just learned about it -- where women gather together and celebrate their love of sisterhood and friendship, and I love that idea.
But what if we don't focus on others at all?
What if we took the holiday back and just focused on loving ourselves more?
I don't know anyone -- present company included -- who couldn't benefit from a little more self-love. And that could look different for all of us...
Some of us might need to forgive ourselves for something. Maybe we actually create a ritual out of it, where you write yourself a letter of forgiveness, say a little prayer, and light it with a match and watch it burn.
Some of us might need a little indulgence. A movie in the middle of the day. A glass of champagne. Some delicious dark sea salt chocolate.
And others of us might need some long-neglected self-care. An epsom salt bath. A hot stone massage. Or even taking a 1/2 day off work to go on a hike. Or take a nap.
There are so many ways we can love ourselves more. And yes, one of those ways could even include buying yourself some flowers. Personally, tulips always seem like an amazing form of self-love to me.
But I just love the idea of using this day as an opportunity to love on yourself and remind yourself that you deserve the same love and care that you give to others every day.
When's the last time you looked at yourself in the mirror and smiled? Really smiled.
Not cringing at this imperfect part of you, but embracing it instead and appreciating every stair these thighs have helped you climb.
Not fixing the piece of hair that's out of place or the too-short bangs, but instead, looking directly into your eyes in the mirror and appreciating the beautiful soul that's behind all of the parts that make up your physical self.
You should try it if you never have. Look deeply into your own eyes for a few minutes. Not a few moments, but a few minutes. It will feel like an eternity, but if you stick with it, you'll be amazed at what happens. You will see your Self. You actually start to catch a glimpse of who you are under all the worry and stress and masks. And you'll see the real you.
And who knows...maybe your daughter will catch you doing it and realize that she doesn't need anyone else to look at her lovingly or write loving words on paper hearts for her...she can do it for herself.
Come to think of it, I'm going to go find myself some construction paper...
Image: Alexandru Zdrobau/Unsplash