So on Sunday it was Valentine’s Day. A merchandiser’s dream. Shops filled with shiny, red hearts <3. Ridiculous and completely useless heart <3 themed gifts. Prices of roses seemed to have tripled in price.
So what is the fuss all about?
The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today <3
Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure.
Sweet isn’t it?
Too much?Yet Valentine’s Day is hard work for some.To be reminded EVERYWHERE that February 14th is the day to be in love <3 is hard to take if you’re single or with a partner who is not quite as romantic as our hero in the aforementioned legend.
However, I am pleased to report that my Facebook wall was NOT filled with messages of undying love. There was a certain lack of photos of couples having the perfect romantic day? So I’m left with the question as to why are we so adverse to declare publicly how much we love our partners?
How many times have we looked on Facebook and got extremely infuriated that all you see are posts and photos of how perfect your friend’s children and families are? Particularly at times like half-term holidays. Visits to the zoo, farm, granny’s, Pizza Express all seem to pass without incident or meltdown. We are witness to how these children are so clever, talented, athletic, cheeky and adorable. But why are we so reluctant to post about our partners and let the world know how clever, talented, athletic, cheeky and adorable they are too? It’s an interesting anomaly don’t you think?
Yet, this is how it should be. Private
I <3 love. I adore my husband and I tell him every day. I don’t actually need Valentine’s Day. I certainly wouldn’t feel the need to declare it publicly. However I also don’t feel the need to declare any details about my children either. Some things are just private. I was recently sent an invite to a ‘Motherhood Challenge’ on Facebook. The request was to post three photos of my children that make me happy to be a mother. I absolutely hated this. I can’t even really tell you why. It’s just there is something so sad that we now feel pressure to display our happiness as if it’s being marked out of 10. The brighter the smile, the better the mother? I’d rather not thank you. I love my kids but again you don’t need to see why, how or who. Take my word for it. All families have their difficulties and challenges and this kind of public display of affection causes many untold heartache. The love we have for our spouses, partners and children holds no bounds. But there is no need to publicly flaunt it.
Love wrapped up in kindness
As the genius John Lennon wrote “All you need is Love” <3. That is for sure. 🙂
The beautiful movement of ‘Pay it Forward’, as promoted by the film of the same name, is a wonderful way to live your life. Based on the principle that if someone does something kind to you then pay it forward and do something kind for someone else. Encourage that person to do the same. So begins the momentum of loveliness. It’s free.
John M. Sweeney and his Suspended Coffees Project epitomises love. Check him out on Facebook. 21,030 people from around the world like what he is doing. Describing himself as a ‘Kindness Coach’ he is, as I write, embarking on ‘The Boldest Ever Kindness Experiment’ on the island of Guernsey with the fabulous Marc Winn.
400,000 Pay it Forward cards have been printed and will be delivered to every home and business on the island. The idea that if someone receives a physical card then they are more likely to act upon it. Indeed one such card was recently passed around a café where customers came in, had their meal then found out that some stranger had already paid for their food. They were given the card. Without hesitation the customers then paid for someone else’s meal. And so the day continued in this same gorgeous, giving vein. The staff had an incredible day as they were caught up in the atmosphere of generosity. You can follow John’s progress on his website. I wish this kindness project every success.
☺As a little PS to this story. The first person to email me firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me an act of kindness that they personally orchestrated will receive a FREE copy of ‘Pay it Forward’ DVD
So where does this day of Valentine leave us?
There are some major awesome people out there doing a great job promoting love <3 and kindness.
But the ones doing the greatest job? in my opinion it’s the mums and dads who are tirelessly struggling every day with their special children out of pure, unadulterated love <3. They are the ones who deserve the biggest ever bunch of over-priced roses.
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