Re-Purposing Valentines Day and Ultimately Re-Incorporating Love Into Our Lives
Originally written by Javier Martinez on February 14th, 2014
Happy Valentines Day! Feliz Dia de Amor y de Amistad!
Today is Valentines Day, a day of love and affection, and as of late, commercial indulgence. A holiday that seems antiquated with routine and adherence to outdated gender roles. That should NOT be the case whatsoever. This day should be for love and expression (as everyday could be). So this year let’s not do the disservice of dulling love down, and use today as an opportunity to generate meaning.
Better said than done, I am sure. Speaking as a male, I can honestly say that this day has become part of a checklist, part of a routine. If you are dating someone, it is your duty to create an experience, present a gift, and express affection with whomever you may be dating.
THIS IS THE FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM!
Love and affection should never be part of any checklist, and an expression of such importance should absolutely never be routine. It has always been the best source of life and from this core, life generates much of its meaning and beauty.
How can we Re-purpose Valentines Day? How can we Re-Purpose Love into our lives?
First we need to break this box that love is only romantic. Today can be the day you tell you remind your best friends how much you care and trust them. Today can be used to call your original valentine, your mother (or father) and thank them for the love the have given unequivocally. Today can be the day you tell your co-workers how much you appreciate them. Today could be the day you surprise a mentor with a gift, having received so many from them. Haven’t keep in touch with family as much as you should? A five minute call can close that deficit much faster than you think.
I’ll repeat, Love is not ONLY romantic — it can be familial; it can be friendly. You can express affection for someone for any number of reasons. By expanding our base of expression and actualizing it; I believe we can remove the personal cynicism that surrounds this day.
The ways in which we express love need to change. Should we just buy flowers and chocolates because that is what is marketed? A nice dinner? Maybe, but why not use this as a platform of creativity to re-purpose and import love back into your life. Think about how impactful these affections are when we are on the receiving end. We all had a first love, we all had that person that made our heart skip a beat, and we all remember the adventure that came with the process. For the romantics, this day can be your blank canvas, that you can paint in ANY which way you desire. It can be the vehicle to display your inner creativity, creating a new masterpiece. We all know that love has unlimited potential and can manifest itself in surprising ways even if we choose not to acknowledge it.
Don’t know where to start? I would recommend, as corny as it sounds, “The Five Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman. He outlines a number of ways in which people give and receive love, whether you like receiving gifts, words of affirmation, quality time, etc. Reflecting on these manners of expression can help you target your energies to match your intentions, romantic, friendly or otherwise.
I have focused a lot on the day, but honestly, I fervently believe that the expression and practice of love can be done every day. I know I mentioned that love should never be procedural but that isn’t how love works. It grows, and enrichs, sparking new potential, creativity and enjoyment in your life. How can you expect to grow if you only think about how others affect you, but never about how you affect or can affect others?
By this point you are probably questioning, “am I an expert on love?”
My purpose is to fulfill one of my new goals. This year it has become one of my goals to practice love, ensuring my family on the other coast know that I revere them and honor them; it’s because of them I am who I am. I want to ensure that my love for them is tangible enough so they believe unequivocally. Displaying my love and admiration for them will enable me to look forward with confidence and look back without regret.
Ultimately, time decides who you meet in life. Your heart decides who you want in life. Your behavior decides who will stay in your life. How can we make sure our heart and our behavior are in sync? For me the answer is reincorporating love into actionable expression everyday.
I challenge each of you to take the opportunity in front of you today (and everyday) to reflect on how much we are displaying and expressing love in our lives. It is only through love that you can fully express your deepest delights, loves, hopes and desires. It is mankind’s only universal language, like any language, to speak it fluently, you must participate for a lifetime.