The Valentine’s Day season is a challenging period. It’s typically focused on couples, 2 for one specials, romance, and sex – and it doesn’t work for a lot of people who are single, divorced, widowed, or otherwise (involuntarily?) unpartnered. It leads to a lot of shame, guilt, sadness, and feelings of unworthiness. I may be more sensitive to this holiday because I think back to my years as a single woman post-divorce and how I felt. I know it’s a tough day for a few people because it 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). To those who say V-Day is lame because we should celebrate our love for each other every day – of course, we should be doing things for our loved ones more often than just one day a year. But we don’t express our affection daily for many reasons; we are too busy, or we take our partner for granted or simply forget. We don’t have to limit ourselves to someone else’s definition.
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 and not only my partner. No, this isn’t a polyamory post (although that is a wonderful solution for many people), 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 as the years go by? 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 we were 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 kids’ 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. A link to find upcoming parties near you is here. 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 of more of relational intimacy and love and bring in more kindness. Join me?
(C) 2016 The MamaSutra