How many of you look forward to Valentine’s Day? How many of you think it totally sucks?
Valentine’s Day is hard for a lot of unpartnered people – that is single, divorced, widowed, for example. This day is typically focused on couples. You’ve got “2 for 1 specials”, romance, and lame “sexy movie” releases to build excitement (*AHEM, I’m looking at you Fifty Shades Darker), and it doesn’t actually work for people who are unpartnered. Sometimes, this holiday leads people to feel a lot of shame, guilt, sadness, loneliness, and feelings of unworthiness. Some prefer to numb and not feel the feels. I may be more sensitive to this holiday because I think back to my years as a single mom, post-divorce and how I felt. I know it’s a tough day for a lot of people. It certainly was for me.
I get bummed out that V-Day is portrayed as a “Hallmark holiday” or just for couples (this due in part to the veneration of St. Valentine – Patron saint of couples and courtly love). But I think it has the ability to be so much more.
As a mother, and as someone who wants to set an example for my children, I’m adapting V-Day to suit me and I plan to include my friends and more; not only my partner. No, this isn’t a polyamory post (although that is a wonderful solution for many people when done ethically), this is just me wanting to consider people I know outside of a romantic or sexual relationship and focus on the human kindness element.
It’s funny – lots of young kids already know and do this. Here’s an example of a little boy reaching out to help another:
or this example of a little boy who won’t hit a piñata:
Is it that we unlearn this? When? How?
Both of these examples are sweet and play into my idea for more love shared for the day. I propose making Valentine’s Day similar to what it was like when I was little. Thinking back to when you were in elementary school – remember giving and receiving Valentines for every kid in your class? Go to the drug store, grab a box of those Valentine kits for the classroom (the set of 25), and distribute the little love notes. Pass them out to people you encounter in your day. Pass them out to your single or divorced or widowed friends. Pass them out to your kids. Unless your target is a total sourpuss, I imagine the little note will bring a smile to his or her face.
Another idea for sharing more kindness is to attend a Cuddle Party near you. <– Click this link to find upcoming parties near you. These Cuddle Party events have an even bigger benefit in that they help participants learn more about their own boundaries. Not only that, you get to practice saying “no” and being told “no” (and noticing that you survive both), they teach you to be really specific about asking for what you want, and you learn how to negotiate. These are not sex parties – think of them as a workshop where you wear footie pajamas, or comfy sweats, or the comfiest clothes you wear around the house. These cuddle parties teach vital skills to have in ANY relationship. But the best part is the human connection and kindness you feel in a non-sexual setting.
Of course, we should celebrate our loved ones every day. We all get really busy though and forget to do that from time to time. This holiday is not going to go away so why not make the best of it? I want to make this Valentine’s Day about more than just sex and couples. I’m going to think more of relational intimacy and love and bring in more kindness. Join me?
p.s., don’t forget to treat yourself on this day as well. Self-love is the best love!
(C) 2017 The MamaSutra
These stories come from my real-life adventures. I’d love to hear about your experiences, so if it’s comfortable for you, feel free to share your story in the comment section below.
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