Notes on Valentine's Day

When I first began thinking of topics for this blog I made a short list. My coworker found this list and gave me a questioning look that simply said, “ummm dude, are you okay?”

The list contained the following:

·         Loneliness

·         Empathy

·         Forgiveness

Today, I’d like to discuss loneliness.

I clearly recall one dismal Valentine’s in my early twenties. I went into the dorm room of two of my girlfriends. The windows were open and a fresh breeze was rippling the curtains holding the promise of spring. Between the two of them, they had somehow amassed five bouquets. Their level of euphoria was equally matched by the level of self-pity taking place in my dorm room.  My roommate and I were blaring a playlist we titled “Love Hurts.” The shades were closed, the lights dim, and we both sat hunched over our laptops angrily jabbing at our keyboards pretending to be busy.

One year, I was stood up. The circumstances were embarrassing. I had plans to go on a double date. I was all dressed up. When it became clear my date was not coming, I called the other couple to cancel. I proceeded to drink wine (copious amounts) and spilled said wine all over my laptop. As a result, my laptop was permanently frozen on the google search I had been conducting, “what to do when you are stood up.” Of course, in the light of a new day, the ridiculousness of the situation brought a lot of laughter to our apartment and helped ease the sting I had felt the evening prior[1].

Even when in a relationship, this holiday can leave us feeling lonely or unloved.

I had grand plans to share with you some research from some of my favorite books on the art of giving and receiving love. Then, I came down with influenza.

So instead, I’m going to keep it simple. No citations and fact based research on love, just some good old thoughts on this corporate holiday from your pal Amanda.

1.       Love yo’self.

Self-love is so important and so easily neglected. Whatever your size, shape, age- know that you are beautiful. Challenge yourself to truly embrace that beautiful wholeness that is you.

At some point in time I stopped seeing people as beautiful on a scale from 1 to 10. I never look at someone and think, “wow, HAWT!” I just see beautiful people in their many forms. I see humans laughing, grey hair in the wind, wrinkles that tell stories of a life lived. I see aged hands holding young hands. I see bodies moving, happy faces, sadness manifesting in eyes and body. I see a beautiful woman that survived cancer/damn the way her hair is coming back looks FINE! Perhaps you are this way too.

Consider that, you yourself aren’t even seeing people as good looking on some sort of spectrum. If that’s true, then that’s how others view you. They see you as a smiling face, they see your confidence, and they see your happiness shining from within.

Love the person that only you truly know. Love your quirks. Embrace your interests and passions. Jot down a list of all the reasons you are one damn fine lady (or man).

2.       Treat yo’self.

Do something that makes you happy. Chocolate, a fresh bouquet of flowers, drop-in at your favorite yoga studio or climbing gym, a heart shaped pizza- you do you girl (or man). Actually, you should be good to yourself 365 days a year, but be extra nice to yourself today.

3.       Give some love.

Take time to give a heartfelt thank you to someone in your life. Let someone know you love them. All too often we say we are too “busy” to write a heartfelt love letter to our parents, children, grandparents, siblings. Write a letter thanking someone for the way they’ve been a mentor, for the time they made you laugh until you cried twenty years ago, for the time they told you, “you look perfect” when you really needed to hear it. Write a real love letter.

4.       Receive some love.

Allow yourself to receive love. If someone does you a kindness, no matter how small, honor the gift by fully embracing and receiving that gift. It is often easier to give love than to receive love. This may also mean letting go of your expectations for today. Be ready to receive whatever gifts you are presented with today, no matter how mundane or grandiose.

It’s a beautiful world out there. If you feel yourself slipping toward loneliness or sadness this Valentine’s Day try to focus on the myriad miracles you are witness to every single day- the rising sun, dew on blade of grass, cloud floating by, heart beating in chest, lungs full of air. You are beautiful, you are perfect, Happy Valentine’s to you my friend!

[1] This is a true story despite sounding totally made up. As a point of distinction, this took place on my birthday, not Valentine’s Day; however, I feel the story is relevant here because both days are fraught with expectations and often, disappointment.