It`s not a secret that I am not a fan of St. Valentine’s day mainly because of the massive commercial hype around it. All the hearts, glitter, huge amounts of fluffy gifts with ambiguous purpose are quite a turn off for me. Additionally, the pressure to display your love and affection (for example by having dinner together with 100 other couples) also feels unnatural and somehow unauthentic. Furthermore, I think the whole “celebration” is in some way discriminatory and cruel to all single people who are left without a reason to celebrate.
On the other hand, it is a beautiful concept to have a day when you can pay tribute to Love and to reflect what it means to you. Because even though the critics of the day claim that we should express our love daily (which I actually fully agree with) and without occasion the reality is that it doesn`t always work and having an occasion to be reminded of the meaning and importance of Love is actually a pretty good idea.
So what is Love? There have been many different approaches towards defining Love, but I think that it is important for everyone to formulate their personal definition. For me, it starts from truly loving and respecting yourself (we all need to start from somewhere 😉 ) and then expanding it to others. It manifests through acceptance rather than desire to change the other person as well as care for the well being of the person above and beyond our personal well being. And very importantly – it is not a noun, but a verb; something that requires dedication and attention.
Love is also a driving force for good and creativity and helps us to become improved versions of ourselves. And as the brilliant Khalil Gibran puts it in his chapter on Love in his masterpiece “The Prophet”:
“Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.”
For those of you who want to see his whole message, have a look at the video: