Many people dismiss Valentine’s Day as a Hallmark holiday. But, let’s think about this for a minute. It’s a lot more than just a money-making scheme for a big corporation. Valentine's day has been around since before the Middle Ages. If it has been celebrated in some way for the last several hundred years, don’t you think there might be something to it?
Pope Gelasius declared February 14th to be St. Valentine’s Day in 498 (yes, over 1500 years ago). The oldest surviving Valentine’s Day poem was written in 1415. In the 18th century, it became popular to exchange small tokens of affection and handwritten notes. Pre-made cards became popular about 1900. Today Valentine’s Day is the second largest card-sending holiday of the year, following Christmas. This is probably why it is thought of as a Hallmark holiday, but as you can see, it pre-dates Hallmark, by a lot.
Valentine’s Day has remained important because it gets at the heart of our human experience: love and relationships. Valentine’s Day is a day to acknowledge and celebrate the importance of our relationships.
Let’s make it a day worth remembering. (If this thought gives you a sinking feeling, keep reading.)
What do you do if you feel like you have to “get it right” or it will be a disaster? You might feel this way if you don't feel adept at expressing your feelings or have had failures in the past.
If this is you, let's do some brainstorming around what you could do to make this day special.
Ask yourself how you feel about your lover, family member, or friend. What do you depend on them for? How do they help you? What makes this relationship good? Do they have any endearing quirks? Once you’ve got some answers to these questions, think about what you can do to express these feelings and experiences.
Here are some ideas you can use to start your creative ideas flowing:
I'm sure if you put your creative hat on or consult with a friend, you can come up with something fun and expressive.
If you feel your partner is particularly lax around this day or has even openly expressed some disdain for sending a card because it’s only to benefit a big corporation, let's do some brainstorming around how to let them know what you'd like.
First, consider the possibility that your partner doesn't do a spectacular job of expressing his or her feelings because of past misunderstandings or failures in this area. Often I find that people who dismiss Valentine's Day as a “Hallmark holiday” are doing so because they have had bad experiences with either feeling let down or feeling like they had let their partner down. So start with a little empathy.
Then, use a quick communication technique where are you
Tip: I’d encourage you to craft a script so you know what you want to say. You don’t have to read the script when you talk with your partner. But, having done this beforehand will make it easier to express yourself.
Warning: Don't fall into the trap of thinking if you have to tell them, it doesn't count. That's just robbing yourself of an opportunity to get what you want.
If after telling them how you’d like to celebrate Valentine's Day, they put in some effort, I'd encourage you to acknowledge the effort and appreciate it even if it doesn't fully meet your expectations. There's nothing like putting in some effort and getting feedback that it wasn't good enough to make you never want to try again. Plus, showing appreciation is a great way to show love, and isn’t that what this is all about in the first place?
I hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day.