In many Hispanic countries “El día del amor y la amistad,” aka Love and Friendship Day, is not just about romantic love. It is about showing other people that you care about them.
Do you remember Valentine’s Day when you were a kid? If you were like me, you’d sit with pink, white, and red construction paper, cut out little hearts, and write the names of all your classmates on those hearts. Some girls would buy cards with Care Bears on them and the boys usually bought cards with Batman or GI Joe on them (I think I just dated myself). If you were lucky enough to have a cool room-mother you got punch and heart-shaped cookies. Valentine’s Day was more about friendship than mushy gushy love and it was A LOT simpler.
Now it seems that Valentine’s Day has become just as commercialized as Christmas! Well, maybe not quite that bad. It is, however, commercialized to the point that many women feel sick when February 14th rolls around because they see others around them receiving roses, chocolates, or jewelry. Perhaps if we looked at this day from a different perspective it wouldn’t seem like such a terrible day for so many.
This perspective I’m talking about is redirecting your focus. Think about others around you. Last week I drove ten hours home to Chicago because my GrandMama had been hospitalized. She lives, I should say lived, in a senior facility. It is an apartment building for those of a certain age, or perhaps who have some sort of handicap, but can still live on their own without assistance. My GrandMama lived on the fifth floor and I met just about ALL the ladies on that floor. Each woman spoke of how much they loved her and would miss her. They spoke of how she was always willing to help anyone out. They spoke of her kindness to everyone around her. And they all said how much they would miss her. On my second day there I met a lady, Jane, from the fourth floor who was wheelchair bound. Jane cried when she heard my GrandMama was leaving the building to live with my mother in Georgia. I spoke to Jane every time I saw her. One day she asked me to come to her apartment to see it. Although we were very busy packing up my GrandMama’s things, I thought, this lady needs just a few minutes of someone’s time. She said something while she was showing me her apartment. Jane said, “Your grandmother is so lucky to have someone to live with now. I’ve been in this wheelchair accessible apartment for 18 years. They said so I would have freedom, but, really I’m not so free.” This lady felt all alone. Jane loves my GrandMama because she would take the time to talk to Jane whereas others did not always do so. I have thought about her often, being alone in her apartment, having no one to tell her she is loved today. So I put a card in the mail to her hoping it would arrive in time for Valentine’s Day. Do you know someone who has no children, no siblings nearby, no way of getting out and meeting people? Show them a little love.
I know this other lady who was widowed this past year and I thought today might be somewhat difficult for her. So I made her a card, put some chocolates and a candle in a gift box, and I placed them on her desk while she was away from it. After she found it, she came over to me and said, “I was having a really bad day and you just made it better.” Later she sent me an email saying that her husband had always made her feel special on Valentine’s day and it was difficult seeing bouquets of roses being delivered for a few of the ladies. Do you know someone who has lost the one person who made them feel special? Reach out to him or her with a little kindness.
If you are feeling down today because you don’t have a “special someone” then try…redirecting your focus. Call up a friend and see if they want to hang out. Bake some cookies and take them to the neighbor who lives alone. There are lots of people just waiting for someone to let them know they are loved.
I promise you, if you take the time to brighten someone else’s day, just a little bit…you will brighten your own. 🙂