Dear Dr. Paulette,
With Valentine’s Day almost here, I’m wondering if you have any suggestions for singles about how to spend the day in a happy, meaningful way. Often singles feel lonely or feel like a loser and just want the day to pass.
This is a great question that is probably on the mind of other singles. Let’s look at the origin of Valentine’s Day for a moment, because I don’t feel like it is only supposed to be a meaningful day for couples. It is truly a day of love.
Scholars differ about the real story of St. Valentine (for whom this holiday is named) but many believe that he was a former bishop who believed in Jesus. The Roman Emperor decided not to let young people marry because he felt that unmarried soldiers would fight better. But St. Valentine, who believed in the sanctity of marriage, risked his own life to secretly marry off couples. Some say that he wore a purple ring with cupids on it when he performed these marriage ceremonies. He was imprisoned and tortured for his disobedience and the judge asked him to renounce his faith but he refused to do so. The judge then asked him to prove his faith in love and Jesus by healing the judge’s blind daughter. Some say that Valentine placed his hands upon the daughter’s eyes and she could then see. Before Valentine was killed on February 14th some say that he sent the judge’s daughter, with whom he was in love, a letter that ended, ‘Signed Your Valentine.’ And this is why we commemorate this day. St. Valentine is said to be the patron saint of married couples but he is much more. He embodied the lessons of faith, healing and the capacity to spread love even in the face of fear.
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So, one question is: How can we (single or otherwise) celebrate this and do the same? Our world needs love these days and this holiday may appear to be about romantic love but there are so many different kinds of love to share: Romantic love, Philia (affectionate love and friendship), the love of family, love of pets and animals, Agape (selfless love), self-love, love of the world and cosmic or spiritual love.
Here are a few ideas about how to celebrate:
- Love the World– Spend the day working in a soup kitchen with the homeless or volunteer. I remember last year on Valentine’s Day we made 20 Valentine’s Day cards with our kids and took them over to a nursing home a few blocks away. You should have seen the looks of love and the smiles on the faces of those elderly people as our kids handed each one their homemade Valentine’s Day cards.
- Have a Galentine’s Day with Friends-Get together with your friends and have some fun celebrating the love and support you have for each other.
- Be like St. Valentine– Fix someone up or write a letter to a married couple that you want to acknowledge or support. Let them know you admire them as a role model of a great couple- and all the better if it’s your own parents or grandparents.
- Give Yourself Love– This one is so important. Get a massage or buy yourself flowers. One survey said that 14 percent of women buy flowers for themselves on Valentine’s Day. Let’s make it even higher!
- Express Your Love of Spirit– a Theophile is the love of God or to be loved by God. Go to church, listen to spiritual music, pray, light a candle or create your own spiritual ceremony to honor the unconditional and never-ending love of Spirit in your life.
- Love Up Your Pets– An ailurophile is the love of cats and canophilia is the love of dogs. Surveys say 1/5 of Americans give Valentine’s Day gifts to their pets. Remember they are your true companion.
- Love Your Family– Spend some time letting your family know how much it means to you that they are always there for you and love you even at your worst. Let them know all that you love about them. Some of them may not have a romantic Valentine either this year.
I’m sure there are tons of other suggestions that I didn’t put here but you get the idea. We all need a Day of Love so don’t forget to celebrate in your own way. You will make someone else’s day too if you do.
My Best in Love,