Valentine’s Day

by Belinda Munoz on February 14, 2011

220px-St-Valentine-Kneeling-In-Supplication
Valentine’s Day. In Tina’s famous words, what’s love got to do with it? It’s possible we’ve all asked this question at some point when we see the onslaught of glitzy merchandising that distracts us from the true meaning of this day. The ubiquitous red heart symbol that litters store shelves, the jewelry ads with the happy couple, the perfect dinner reservation that is impossible to secure — there is nothing subliminal about commercial forces preying on our desire to please our partner on this day.

But I know that I’m not alone in thinking that this is not what love is. Here are some words by those far more eloquent than I on the subject:

Love has no desire but to fulfill itself. To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night. To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving. ~Kahlil Gibran

Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place. ~Zora Neale Hurston

My blogging buddy Arvind Devalia asked me a couple of questions recently: what’s your ideal Valentine Day and how can people bring more love into their lives everyday? Below are my reflections:

On a personal scale, my ideal Valentine’s Day is very simple. It is one spent enjoying the company of my family, appreciating the good lives that we have, and teaching my four year old son about love. Through dialogue and example, I hope to show him that love starts from within and can be shared not just with family and friends but also with strangers by showing them kindness and compassion.

On a larger scale, I would love to see Valentine’s Day become less about the one day of fine dining and expensive gifts or the limited notion of romance between two people but rather a day that symbolizes how we all need love and can lift each other up by being inclusive about giving and receiving love.

We can bring more love into our lives by loving oneself as well as others through acts of kindness, compassion, generosity, forgiveness and acceptance.

Valentine’s Day? May yours be about love.

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Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?
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Image of St. Valentine courtesy of Wikipedia

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February 14, 2011 at 4:16 am
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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 ayala February 14, 2011 at 4:28 am

I agree, Belinda, our children learn by example and love comes from within. I raised my children to have compassion for others and act upon it when needed. My older son is always helping others and extending kindness to others. It makes them better and makes their life richer because they open their hearts to others.

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2 Belinda February 14, 2011 at 4:13 pm

I often wonder if compassion is something that is learned or something of a predisposition. My son surprised me today when husband and I were discussing whether a book was his or mine and my son intervened by saying that we could share the book, that we didn’t need to fight over ownership, almost near tears.. We weren’t arguing at all but clearly, my son sensed a disagreement and preferred that we get along.

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3 Lori Gosselin February 14, 2011 at 7:56 am

Belinda,
I find myself thinking this year that I shouldn’t have waited for Valentines Day to do the little surprises and treats I’ve got planned. It does serve as a reminder – a question: are you demonstrating your love to those you claim to love? We need more than one of these a year! Perhaps every month on the 14th!?
I love Kahlil Gibran’s work. Have you read The Broken Wings? Beautiful.
Lori

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4 Belinda February 14, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Hi Lori, welcome to The Halfway Point. It is strange that we would reserve a surprise/treat for the one day when we’re “supposed to” according to…tradition? Just today, I had conversations with girl friends who have all been in a relationship for a considerable time. Their take on VD is it’s largely reserved at the beginning of a romance when not much life has been lived together to deepen a couple’s intimacy. Personally, I love to go out with my husband, but VD is not a date we necessarily celebrate.

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5 Belinda February 14, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Lori, I forgot to answer your question. Yes, I love KG’s work. I checked my home library and do have The Broken Wings. Can’t remember off the top of my head if I’ve read it. Will check it out.

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6 Molly @ Postcards From a Peaceful Divorce February 14, 2011 at 8:57 am

This is beautiful Belinda. I will be linking to this piece when I get a chance to post something. I’ll probably write tonight while on a date with myself. Ah the benefits of single life!

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7 Belinda February 14, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Thanks, Molly. Enjoy your day! I often hear friends talking about the things they wish they’d done while they were single noting the twinge of regret in their tone. And really, whether we’re single or attached, we would be better served to enjoy it while it lasts because as we all know, there are no guarantees.

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8 Molly@Postcards from a Peaceful Divorce February 14, 2011 at 5:47 pm

In other words, let’s enjoy life? I’m on it!

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9 Molly@Postcards from a Peaceful Divorce February 14, 2011 at 6:21 pm
10 Cathy February 14, 2011 at 10:11 pm

We don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day. Hubby got me a nice card and I got him some nice chocolates. I also got the boys some chocolates (2 each) so nothing extravagant but just a simple reminder that I love them. It is not necessary, but it is easy to fulfill so why not? The evening was filled with dinner making for the family after work, then off to cub scouts for a couple and me on the computer for some volunteer work. Just another day.

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11 Sara Healy February 15, 2011 at 10:27 am

Belinda,

I am in total agreement and can add no better words than what you’ve already said about February 14th, the day of giving and receiving love:~)

Well said, my friend!

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12 Marci | Liberating Choices February 15, 2011 at 10:56 am

I too think Valentine’s Day is often about over-indulgence and carries far too many expectations. I agree not to wait until 1 or 2 days a year to celebrate love. It’s helped me to do my own research on holidays and how the traditions started. Then, I can decide what I want the holiday to mean to me. It can be another reason to party or get together. And, it has the potential to mean so much more.

I wrote about expanding our celebration of love to include the broken hearted. When our heart breaks for others, we can make small steps for world change. Passion & love for ourselves, others, and even far away others.

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13 Mama Zen February 15, 2011 at 11:33 am

I couldn’t agree more!

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14 Brook February 15, 2011 at 1:38 pm

I remember a comic saying one time about Christmas that it was the one day of the year when the family was nice to each other and got along. He proposed a trade. Be nice to each other the other days of the year and just be mean the one day.
Seems like if this is the only day of the year when we take time to let our partner know we care, then we have more to worry about than deciding between daisies and roses.
Very nice post about what Valentine’s Day can be. 🙂
My friend called it International Greeting Card Day.

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15 Aidan Donnelley Rowley @ Ivy League Insecurities February 17, 2011 at 7:39 am

Happy belated. We celebrate, but minimally and lightly. I think it should be a fun and silly holiday and now, it’s really about the kids for us. But I do think it is important to ponder love from time to time, what it is, how we find it and feel it, and if V-Day makes us do that, then that’s a plus.

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