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As Valentine’s Day approaches, the world seems focused on love and romance. Our perception is of couples making romantic gestures and store shelves lined with hearts, teddy bears and chocolate, but there are other ways to nurture connection on Valentine’s Day.
No wonder the “love day” can feel tacky and forced, inspiring many people to skip it altogether. It’s key to look at other ways of fostering closeness and community with others that go beyond the narrow definition of romantic love.
There ARE other kinds of love to appreciate on Valentine’s Day. Here’s a few to consider:
Rethink what love looks like
Think about how you choose to celebrate love. Reflect on the people in your life you care about and who care about you. Consider doing something special for one of them – it doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Plan a coffee date with your Dad, send a handmade card to your Mom, have a video chat with your brother. Spend an evening baking cookies and playing a game with your kids. Give flowers to a friend who is going through a tough time.
Look to your friends
You can use the holiday as an excuse to start a new tradition with your friends. Plan a fun “palentine’s” activity, like a winter beach walk with hot chocolate, a games night or a potluck dinner. You’ll help lift the spirits of friends feeling the winter blahs and those who are dealing with a break up, divorce or death of a loved one – Valentine’s Day can dredge up difficult emotions for them.
Look to your community
Finding a sense of connection and care can also come from your everyday interactions with the people around you: the person you greet on your morning walk, the barista at your local coffee shop. Those short conversations matter more than you realize, and can boost your mood and give you a feeling of belonging and community.
You can also look inward and focus on self-love and self-care, to help make yourself feel cared for and loved on your own terms. Treat yourself to a haircut, practise positive affirmations, buy yourself a special gift or take the time to reflect on the things that make you happy and grateful.
Ultimately, try not to overlook the different kinds of love and connection available to you in your life, even if they’re not what you expected. Taking a more inclusive approach to Valentine’s Day can make the day more meaningful for everyone.