I wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day. In doing so, I am very aware that Valentine’s Day is loaded. Maybe even more so in the pandemic. Here in New York restaurants are now open for indoor dining. Some will make it a romantic evening. Some will fight because they have very different safety parameters. Some will feel lonely as they have in years past. Some will be uniquely solo in this Covid-19 year. Many will measure others’ love by what attention they receive or don’t receive today. And others will see it as just another Sunday. Whatever the case, Valentine’s Day is signified by hearts, the social sign of love.
Love is a peculiar thing. We read about it, we say, “I love you,” we’re told to love ourselves. And, yet love is not a measurable commodity. We have seen love take so many forms in the pandemic. My expression of love has been everything from open & joyous to thorny and messy. My acceptance of other’s love has been a balm at times. While other times I have been judgmental and closed-minded.
We often learn that love looks a particular way. And when those who love us express it in another form it can feel invalidating. They may not love us any less, but it’s hard to take it in when it looks different than our expectations. And, loving ourselves is a whole other ballgame. Often it feels like loving ourselves is a consolation for not receiving the love we want.
Nevertheless, I believe that loving ourselves is exactly the love we need. When we are gentle while vulnerable, kind when stressed, and caring when upset, then we are both providing ourselves with the love we need and taking in the love we’re giving. How wonderful is that? It may feel painful that we experience that alone. If so, then the kindness we impart will go a long way.
I am going to do the best I can to be kind to myself. I am committed to be kind to those I love, those I like, and to strangers. My kindness will be imperfect. I tend to be moody, and I don’t always have the emotional fortitude to express a generosity of heart. But I will do my best. And, as I accept the love given to me, and accept my limitations, as well as those of others, I will see that acceptance as an act of love. This is not necessarily what I was taught about love, it is what I’ve learned since then.
- Give yourself a break from self-care. Sometimes it can become an obligation rather than a caring act. When that’s the case, take a pause.
- Chapstick or lip balm, in your favorite flavor if you like, can be restorative on dry winter days.
- Shelf-care. Go through your books. See if there’s any you’ve meant to read and take them off the shelf. Or see what you can give away.
- Watch a James Corden video on YouTube. May I suggest a Carpool Karaoke? He aims to bring laughter.
Celebrate a party of One. You are number one. And celebrating yourself in any manner that brings delight is the perfect party