Another chance to follow, Happy Valentines Day!

And so the conditioning continues with the dawn of Valentines Day. Don't get me wrong I am not against love; Red hearts adorning our shops as a symbol of love is not a bad thing, quite frankly there is not enough love in the world, I'd be first to agree with that. I also enjoy the innovation and creativity of many small independent traders who seek to make the most of each celebration in difficult trading conditions.

I have heard some lovely stories today of people being affectionate and treating others with love and kindness... going out for a special day together amongst other things, great things to do... please continue to treat loved ones like this... on any day of the year!

But there is a sinister side to this too. The whole commercial nature of the Valentines band wagon encourages us to take sides again. Those who are for it, and of course these are the ones that care, right? ... and those that don't play ball, and therefore of course are confirming in some way they have a cold heart, aren't in love, and can't even do this simple thing. You're just an old misery... I've heard that today too.

There are a couple of my own thoughts about Valentines day.

Conform, follow, go along with this day, and it demonstrates your love. I see this in the same space as the Small Business Saturday event that takes place on the 1st Saturday of December. The concept that a single day somehow has the power to change anything of any significance.

I think Valentines day is a useful day to take a long hard look at what we are doing in our relationships, what they really mean perhaps. Has it come down to this... following along with some mass organised commercial idea that makes demonstrating our love a monetary purchase and a choice between which 'valentines gift' would most accurately reflect the depth of our love?

How could we have been duped into being so lazy? ... is this the amount of effort that counts for 'Love' these days? ... and how many gifts were given today on the basis of guilt and social pressure?

  • If I don't get a gift, I'll never hear the end of it...
  • If I dont get a gift then she or he will think I couldn't even be bothered to do this little thing
  • I better do this, it'll patch things up between us
  • If I don't buy something, and my partner gets me something (even though we've agreed not too) then it will be so bad.
  • My friends partner got xyz ... what did you do?

Has our love been reduced to this? Our ability to 'serve with love' our partner now an avoidance of guilt placed on us by a commercial money focused engine to provide an easy to follow, no pain 'ready made path' to love.... and by the way, according to who?  So we can now buy a "love package" off the shelf... the most sacred of human experiences, now not much more than an afterthought of compliance.

... deep down we know that this isn't going to sort anything... so money gets spent... we buy gifts... we feign joy... and the charade continues... we affix yet another sticky plaster over the gaping wound... and we hobble on, again, for however long... maybe.

Don't get me wrong there are millions or people who use the convenience of choice presented on this day to buy a special gift for their loved one. Not perhaps in the 'spirit' of valentine's day' per se, but due to the overwhelming choices available to select something nice presented on this day... an additional thoughtful gift (from the heart) in this the last and seemingly longest of the winter months... These folk though, more than likely demonstrate their love on any other day in the same bountiful way as they do today on 'Valentines' day...

I also remember fondly this day as the day of 'opportunity' to perhaps anonymously (desperately trying to leave subtle clues) express our feelings for another in the hope that a relationship could be started. Does that still happen? ... I see valentines cards to my wife, husband... girlfriend, boyfriend, these hardly can be considered anonymous! ... have these early memories all but been consigned to the history books?

If we are going to have more love in the world then I don't think this Valentines version of it appeals to me that much. In my opinion it takes us down the wrong road... towards money, gifts and things... not towards emotions, love and service.

Perhaps I am just a bit jaundiced by the whole Valentines experience although I have never pandered to it to be fair... maybe I have confirmed that I am not going to be on your next years valentines card list... and if you are a forgetful boyfriend (or girlfriend) facing the music this Valentines day... please feel free to use some of my thinking in your (challenging) discussions ahead...

There are of course many forms of Love... not just the one.... love can be expressed in many ways... I do not in any shape or form consider I am an expert in love... and a single word cannot possibly express the complexity of the emotions which we bundle into it.

Final Words

I just have a sense that we as a species with all the capacity for love that we have and knowing the joy and happiness that love brings we are somehow coming up short. Love first and foremost starts with ourselves... how can we give out this emotion of 'love' in abundance if we don't have it at home (inside ourselves)...

There is a lot of work to do... change is never easy... sending my love...


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