Valentine’s Day is peculiar, isn’t it?
I can’t think of any other holiday that triggers such joy in one group and such envy and resentment in another. Even those who don’t care either way are forced to define themselves as participants or non-participants by the oh so prevalent, “So are you doing anything special for Valentine’s Day?”
Valentine’s Day feels like a finger pointing at me to remind me of my relationship status. Last year I was in a romantic relationship; this year I’m not. The break-up was painful, but I’ve accepted it. Still, it feels like Valentine’s Day is that cruel co-worker tapping me on the shoulder to remind me that I was passed over for promotion.
It’s just a date on the calendar! No different than February 13th or 15th. So why can it feel so pleasurable one year and so painful the next?
Here’s why: We assign meaning to Valentine’s Day that we don’t to other days. But it’s just a specific and acute example of something we do almost every moment of every day. We mistake our interpretation of an event for the actual event.
Let me give you an example. If I started to make fun of you because you were fat and ugly and stupid, you’d probably be hurt or angered by at least one of those insults. But if I started to make fun of you because you had blue hair and two mouths, you’d probably just think I was weird.
Why the difference? The external events were virtually identical: I was making fun of you. But the difference was you interpreted the first insult as hurtful, and you interpreted the second insult as irrational.
The meaning we give to an event–and not the event itself–determines how we feel.
That’s exciting. It means that we are not victims of the circumstances of our lives. We play a part in creating our reality. But it gets even better:
We can CHOOSE the meaning we give to any experience.
So it’s not simply that we play a part in creating our reality. We are in complete control of how we define our reality.
So what do you want this Valentine’s Day to mean to you? Are you going to accept the greeting card companies’ self-serving emphasis on romantic love? (There’s nothing wrong with that definition as long as YOU choose it yourself and it serves you.) Or are you going to redefine the holiday in a way that’s more meaningful to you?
Let me offer one suggestion: Whatever your relationship status this Valentine’s Day, celebrate all of the love that’s in your life in every size and shape. Start with the love that’s inside you–the love for your parents, your children, your friends, your pet. Sing, dance, watch the sun rise or set. Remember the times you were strengthened and comforted by someone’s love when you needed it the most. And think of a way you can give that gift to someone you know who needs it today.
And, if you’re feeling kind of crazy, do it again tomorrow on the 15th. And the 16th. And the…
Read excerpts from Falling in Love, the new ebook by Curtis G. Schmitt.
In time for Valentine’s Day, Curtis G. Schmitt has turned his coaching perspective on himself to get to the heart of love and relationships in a new ebook, Falling in Love.
He takes you on a journey from the heights of unconditional love through the deep pain of the breakup of his most valued intimate relationship to a transcendent inner peace and connection with the Infinite.
More than a mere recounting of events, this is a manual for spiritual growth through relationship. Read an excerpt at http://www.turnontolife.com/love
Copyright 2007 Curtis G. Schmitt