Redefining Valentine's Day


Valentine's Day.  Also (ever-so-fondly) known as National Singles Awareness Day.  The silver screen and made-for-tv movies serve up sappy (not to mention achingly predictable) stories with perfect, made-for-each-other protagonists and love-conquers-all themes. Message-relaying hearts, hip-swelling chocolate, sneeze inducing flowers, and weapon-toting, diaper-wearing, winged babies abound in nearly every major box store in the nation. It's no wonder a Google search of "most hated holiday" brings up page after page of disgusted diatribes relating to February 14th. 

Don't get me wrong - there is absolutely nothing wrong with celebrating your cutie-patootie and your less-than-perfect-but-perfect-for-you love.  But for those not in a relationship, the day narrowly defined by glitter-enthusiast card companies can feel a little exclusive.  

So this year, I think it's time we redefine our view of February 14th.  This year, instead of celebrating Romance, my goal is to learn to celebrate LOVE.

In ancient Greece, there were four words commonly used to describe love.  Eros was defined as the romantic version of love.  Agape was a term used to define a general affection, unconditional love, or even love of ones neighbors.  Philia was the term for the love of friends and family (think Philadelphia: the city of brotherly love).  And finally, Storge was used to describe innate affection - as in for ones children. 

With so many different kinds of love, it seems foolish to allow only one definition to exclude anyone from celebrating.  This year, if you haven't got a significant other to cuddle up with, celebrate one of the other types of love.  Plan a date with your son or daughter to show them how special they are.  Bond with your parents and siblings in a "Memory Lane" celebration, inspired by the moments from your past that make you feel all warm and tingly.  Plan a Love Potluck or Fondue party with your friends (that "other family") to be surrounded by the people that support you and make you laugh.  Or show a little agape yourself by serving at a shelter or church, and spreading the love to those who might be in need of a little kindness themselves!

Remember: we can let ourselves be defined by life or we can define life for ourselves.  Attitude is everything. 

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1 comment:

  1. I think this is a great message. While it is wonderful to have a sweetheart to celebrate the holiday with, if the idea is the giving of love, then it truly can be a holiday for anyone. If you don't mind the suggestion, I think that you could perhaps shop this article around to some of the various web sources (Yahoo, MSN, etc.) and promote your work here in the process. It's a great idea that I haven't seen anyone addressing but it is an important one.


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