“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.” – Love Actually.
The above is one of my favorite quotes of all time from one of my favorite films. Although primarily being a film to be viewed around Christmas time, this quote has really been gnawing inside me lately. The reason? Because I hate Valentine’s Day.
Yes, you did read that right. For years my husband and I both have boycotted the idea of another commercial holiday trying to slip money from your tingling fingers while creating the image that if you don’t show how much you love someone by giving them an expensive gift, you might as well be single. In fact, if you are single, Valentine’s Day is even worse – a message that you are missing something. I really, really, hate that concept, because love truly is in every nook and cranny on this planet.
That is why this year, I am taking a different approach. No more grumbling about commercialism or consumption (though I loathe both of those practices). Instead, I am going to choose to love, because really, it’s all we’ll ever need. Here are a few things you can do to show love to yourself and others, and you don’t have to spend very much money on a single one of them.
Create love all around you. Just like we discussed, non romantic relationships need love and nourishment too. Call someone you love and make a date. Make homemade Valentine’s Cards and leave them in public places for strangers. Buy a dozen roses and gift them to everyone you see that day. Have all your single friends (or even couples who loathe commercial holidays) over for cocktails and pizza. Just spend time with those you love and let them know that you appreciate their touch in your life.
Dress up for the love of it. Wear the frilliest dress you own, even if it’s not in Valentine’s colors. I feel one million times better dressed to kill, so take that time to put together an outfit you love. Wear your brightest lipstick and polish your nails with your favorite red. With confidence running through our veins, we will not care about commercial sales. We will love ourselves (which is important too) and smile at everyone who walks into our lives.
Indulge is a few heart shaped treats. You know, just to get in the mood. I don’t like to feed the commercial pig, but let’s be realistic. Who doesn’t love cookies or candy? Who isn’t happy to be surprised with chocolate and red wine for supper? A sweet taste on the tongue is always welcome, especially to someone being painfully reminded that Singles Awareness has come knocking on the door again. To avoid spending, simply cut toast into heart shapes or make your very own sugar cookies to share with those around you. If you do choose to buy, share chocolates with people in your workplace or classroom. Just don’t buy those chalky hearts that are in these pictures. They still taste as bad as you remember.
Make a list of things you love and keep it with you all the day. Find some things you are grateful for. Write them down on pretty paper with your favorite pen. Reflect on these things and realize that, no matter how horrid this world may seem to be at times, it really is such a sweet life. Showing gratitude can turn your mouth from sour to sweet and make that frown begin to creep up to the corners of your ears so don’t be afraid let it flow. There is nothing in this world more satisfying than the candied flavor of gratitude.
Make a donation to a shelter – time or money. Remember, no matter how desperate our souls may feel, there is probably someone else with a harder life. Embrace this. Do something to change someone else’s day, whether it’s dropping off a hot lunch in front of a homeless man or donating your time to an animal shelter. Helping others makes us appreciate our lives and feel complete. It’s the glaze to our donut, so spread it liberally and often.
That said, whatever you choose to do, no matter who has that tender place in your heart, I hope you have a wonderful and beautiful Valentine’s Day. Whether you show some love to your brother, a boyfriend, your cat, or a barista, make sure you stamp this moment in time with a kiss.