I know how you feel. I’ve been there.
Standing in line at the coffee shop, innocently awaiting your beverage, and surrounded by glittery heart confetti, oversized red candy, and plushy toys with hearts in their eyes. If only the people around you knew that, behind that innocent facade, was a vengeful fury that compelled you to tear down the hearts, eat the candy, and pluck out the eyes without mercy.
I call it “Valentine’s rage”.
It’s something like road rage, except flared up by anything denoting intended, performed, or promised gestures of romance between other people.
Road rage happens when we feel trapped in traffic, unable to move as we want. Valentine’s rage happens when we feel trapped in isolation, unable to receive the love we want.
Luckily, there’s hope. No, strike that. Not hope. The word “hope” seems to suggest weak, blind faith in some far-away salvation landing into our broken and brittle hands.
There’s more than hope.
There’s a way to feel more loved than you’ve ever felt before this Valentine’s day. Even if you spend it completely alone.
The key is to understand what this day is really about. Wikipedia says that it’s a day when “lovers show their love to each other.”
What is love?
Is it really something that only people who have happened to meet one another based on common interests and have stayed together long enough to make it till mid-February with the label of being “together” are entitled to?
Even then, is it even something that you can show with a teddy bear? Does it come in a box? Does it come wrapped in a bouquet?
The same way that Christmas, perhaps, meant a little more – so does Valentine’s. And I think, deep down, we all know that.
That’s why there are so many Valentine’s Grinches around. That’s why I used to be one. We all know, intuitively, that we need love to live. So, when this holiday comes around presuming that this basic necessity is only for those privileged enough to label each other possessively – we get upset. Rightfully.
Love is not a commercial property. You can’t own love. Love isn’t just for people in romantic relationships.
As Wikipedia taught us, Valentine’s is a day when lovers show love. Well, isn’t it wonderful that we are all lovers? That we can all show our love?
I implore you to use this day to spread love in the world. Send a Valentine to that lonely person at the office. Give a hug to someone who looks like they need one. Call up someone you’ve fallen out with and tell them you still care, you forgive them, and that they’re valuable.
Tell someone they’re beautiful. Give a gift to a stranger. Call up your family and tell them how much they mean to you.
Write a love letter to someone you admire. Write a love letter to someone who’s grieving. Write a love letter anonymously and leave it in a random mailbox. Write a love letter to yourself.
Do simple acts of kindness for other people, for yourself, and for the Earth. Love this world. Pick up some litter and dish out some smiles. Dole out compliments and notice the little things that make someone special.
Love harder than you’ve ever imagined, and watch how you feel loved right back.
Because that’s the secret.
You can’t genuinely, authentically, powerfully love without feeling love right back. And that’s because real, true love is unconditional and boundless. When you give it, you automatically receive it.
So when you’re standing there, inside the coffee shop, starting to get Valentine’s rage, do something different. Whip out your wallet and buy some of that candy for the stranger behind you in line. Smile proudly at their surprise. And maybe even give them a hug.
Then, walk away with your head held high, knowing that you are a lover, you are loved, and you can celebrate that any day. Especially today.