Today is valentines day.
A day to recognize the significance and importance of any and all relationships, both present and past.
A time to reflect on those who have made an impact and let them know the significance of impact they have had in your life. Many people often single out a spouse, fiance, significant other, or best friend, but today is about more than just one person—today is about a multitude of people.
Today is about showing gratitude to those who support you (both past and present). Valentines day is about telling your family how much you love and appreciate them being there for you when you failed a college course or lost somebody you love. It’s about their support when you learned to fly, leaving the nest and jumping off into the air of possibility when your wings were not yet strong enough to carry you; you fell to the ground. Your delicate dreams may have been shattered and broken, knocked from the pedestal by the academics you pursue. They helped you put the pieces things back together. They loved and accepted you regardless of your performance.
The only person valentines day is not about, is you. Though valentines day is supposed to be about someone else, ultimately we wind up focusing on ourselves. We may concern ourselves with whether or not we will be anyone else’s valentine. We concern ourselves with how other people will receive the gifts we give them on this special day; whether they will really appreciate the thought and effort that went into the gift you gave them. Or perhaps we will not be grateful for the gratitude that is shown to us because they did not give us a gift, their gift wasn’t what we wanted, or even because we think that the gift does not signify the importance of the relationship.
If you are bitter, jealous, angry, or sad today, take a moment to step back from your perception of the world and think about what it looks like to others. What does your brother consider loving? How does your mother feel appreciated? What really shows your peers, co-workers, or mentors what they mean to you? The real take home is asking yourself, “What does this person perceive as loving and how can I do that?” I don’t do this as often as I should, it can be really hard—emotionally draining in fact—not to mention it takes a great deal of vulnerability.
Love everybody. Does this seem a bit disingenuous? We tend to ascribe value to things based on scarcity. If a lot of people love someone, however, that person in return only loves a few, it really means something to be loved by that individual because they only share it with a few. On the other hand, if a lot of people love someone, and in return they love everyone back, their love is considered as less valuable. I find myself attempting to place a value on the relationship I share with someone based on how much support I receive, how often we talk, or even how much we are alike… but the reality is every relationship is different. You can’t really compare your relationship between you and your mother and you and your best friend. There is nothing for you to measure the value of the relationship against. We should show everyone how much we love or care about them—no matter what.
Love in a way that they can see. If you asked a thousand people what love is, you might get a thousand different answers; everyone has their unique take on things. We tend to forget that we as a people are different. We don’t all share the same definitions, values, beliefs or passions. We all have our differences, and it is out of those differences that our world is built. Love them in a way that really connects and shows your understanding about them. Take their interests into account, as well as yours, blending together a unique flavor of love.
So as you go about today, remember to show gratitude to everyone in a way that they can see.