This is my annual Saint Valentine’s Day soap-box speech. It’s been interesting to observe how attitudes about this day have changed, even from year to year. If you check my archives, in 2014, I gave samples of poetry to celebrate this mushy—sorry, romantic—holiday. I was told that people love poetry so long as they don’t actually have to read it. The following year, I told a tale of youthful romance, communicated by the suitor to his ill-suited by way of thrown 3 x 5 cards in the public library. ‘Boys are so annoying!’ (Wisdom spoken by a ten-year-old girl, the object of a ten-year-old boy’s fancy.)
There are those who maintain that Valentine’s Day is a pagan holiday (which makes no sense—Saint Valentine was a bishop. Neither the pagans nor anyone else have bishops). They rue a holiday that excludes those unskilled or unlucky enough to have no ‘squeeze’ with whom to hang out. Last year, I believe the most important aspect of Valentine’s Day was that it a Tuesday; they show the good television programmes on Tuesdays.
The good news this year is that 14 February is also Ash Wednesday.
Enthusiasm for this holiday is waning. Even those with highly commercial interests are quieter this year.
There is one person without whom you cannot live. About this person, you may be in two minds but you will always have a single heart. Because of this person you have survived difficult times, borne heavy burdens, and even thrived. You cannot live without this person.
It is good to celebrate yourself, recalling and being grateful for the ways you’ve grown, the strength you’ve developed, and the qualities you possess about which you can be truly pleased without narcissism or arrogance. These qualities are innately yours—no sweetheart will make you stronger or more compassionate. It seems that increasingly, intelligent appreciation from others is hard to come by. When you can love, forgive, and appreciate yourself, it is easier to see and accept these from others.
You have good qualities, characteristics that no one may know about, that help define YOU. Those characteristics deserve to be celebrated. To-day is the right day for that.
It isn’t uncommon, I believe, for people to think they should not be celebrated. They’ve done nothing special, they don’t deserve it, etc. Until you do celebrate yourself, how can anyone else? (And what if they don’t—you still merit acknowledgment and appreciation, yes?)
Every day is suitable for self-assessment, but this often takes the form of self-criticism. It is possible, and indeed preferable, to find something about yourself that is pleasing, and celebrate that. Let Valentine’s Day be the day for that. It builds self-confidence, and self-confidence is attractive to others.
Whether you are single, dating, or married, I wish each of you a very special and fulfilling Saint Valentine’s Day. So long as there is some good in you, even if only the desire to be something better, there is something to celebrate.
Paul TN Chapman
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