Soul's Notes (TL;DR): This Valentine's Day, I encourage you to express your love to ALL the people in your life (including yourself) who have contributed to your evolution and support you in different ways, not just limited to the realm of romance.
Valentine's Day is coming up, and I shouldn't be saying this as a greeting card retailer, but I'll say it anyway; this holiday has always sort of... disappointed me? Please let me explain.
I met the loveliest customer back in November when I was participating in a local pop-up farmer's market here in Edmonton. She had taken the time out of her day to support Soulful Greetings and purchase some cards. During our conversation, she was lamenting her singlehood and it broke my heart that she considered being single a failing. Here was a beautiful woman showing me kindness and vulnerability and she felt "less than" because she didn't have a romantic partner.
We place such great emphasis on romantic relationships as the most important kind of love to seek and that's what Valentine's Day is engineered to celebrate. I think this is sadly limited and grossly underestimates the power of love.
What about the love of family and friendship? Haven't these bonds shaped you into the person you are today? Whether you are single or in a relationship, why should the idea of a significant other hold so much weight? We are meant to connect with others through a myriad of relationships. It's unfortunate that culture, entertainment, and our values put romance on a pedestal when the truth is we rely on, and are nurtured by, so many different kinds of ties. In fact, I think it's a huge detriment to place the burden of happiness and fulfillment on only one person's shoulders.
Did you know that so many languages outside of English recognize and acknowledge the different kinds of love that exist; platonic, romantic, family, etc.? For example, in Ancient Greek, the word eros spoke to a passionate, sexual attraction, while philia indicated deep friendship.
(If you're interested in learning more, this was the article I used as my source.)
My favourite word of the Ancient Greek vocabulary is philautia, or love of the self. By loving ourselves first and foremost, we can then extend our self-love to others like a lighthouse shining its radiance to help others out of their own personal darkness.
This Valentine's Day, I encourage you to express your love to ALL the people in your life (including yourself) who have contributed to your evolution and support you in different ways. A co-worker, a neighbour, your sibling or best friend -- love comes in so many different forms and THAT should be the true meaning of this holiday.
And of course... we have cards for that ;).
I genuinely believe love is all there is. Let's make Valentine's Day reflect that in its true, vast glory.