We just finished Happy Hour on the Simply Celebrate Facebook Page. There was a great discussion about Valentine's Day and how it can sometimes feel like we are being told how and when to celebrate the people in our lives. The commercialism can set up expectations that don't match how we might be feeling at the moment. Pictures get created in our heads of how we should feel or the types of gifts we should give. Days like this can create pressure that leads to unhappiness, rather than joy.
Folks at the Happy Hour seemed to agree that it is important to focus on the people we love all year round, especially by simply remembering on a daily basis how grateful we are for the people we love and by expressing our love and appreciation in ways that feel authentic.
All that said, it also can sometimes be a good to have something outside of us that reminds us to remember what is really important in our lives. I received a note from Amy, a friend and Simply Celebrate reader, who has a beautiful Valentine's story to illustrate this. What I loved most about Amy's story is it really underlines the shift that can happen when we remember to come from a place of love. Amy had been feeling a bit unseen by her spouse. Rather than let that feeling overtake her, she decided to step into a different story. Here's what she told me:
My husband and I have been in a real rough patch lately, and I've been thinking a lot about stuff you say about shifting thinking, deciding to be happy, etc. and I realized I had some control over the situation. (I knew that, of course, it's just so easy to ignore/forget).
So, sometime yesterday afternoon, I decided to go kind of over the top for Valentine's day. First, I took some epsom salts, fragrance, and dye and mixed up some custom wonderful smelling bath salts for Scott, all from a left over soap-making kick. Then I grabbed this month's issue of Martha Stewart living, and cut out every heart in it. I modpodged them to an old Vietnamese tea tin that I had lying around, and filled it with the bath salts. Next, I got out some decorative paper I had, and cut out about an infinity of hearts of different sizes.
Now here's what you have to know about Scott. Several years ago, he had a brain tumor, and is dependent on several different medications to keep his endocrine function going. He has a very precise morning routine, that involves walking the dogs, taking his medication, putting on the coffee, and eating breakfast. I crammed hearts everywhere I could think of along his routine path, all the while giggling at the thought of him finding them and chuckling to himself in a way that I love. I put them in his pill bottles, in the coffee, in the cereal, in his coffee cup, taped in side the cabinets, everywhere I could think of. Right before bed, I took sidewalk chalk and made a path of valentines to his car.
He loved it, and, being who he is, what he loved most is that I made him feel loved without spending a penny.
I'm so grateful to Amy for sending me this story today. Her line about him "chuckling to himself in a way that I love" just totally pulled at my mushy bone. Her experience reminded me that as hard as it can be to do or remember, sometimes when we want more love, we just gotta give more love. And we can do it in whatever way works the best for us.