Valentine’s Day – a reminder of love?

    It seems that love is no longer about how we are with each other, but instead how we can materially appease one another

Chocolate-HeartsPhoto: Organic Trade Association

One of my co-workers mentioned in late December how the 31st hadn’t even come and gone and already the local stores were putting up their Valentine’s Day displays. No one had time to recover emotionally, let alone financially, from holiday sticker shock, before being reminded that yet again, they had to buy their friends’, family’s and paramours’ love with gifts of wine, chocolate and roses.

With each passing year, I hear the dread in those around me grow at Valentine’s Day and all that it entails. A day that is, in theory, supposed to be all about love, seems to be about nothing but stress. Where to get dinner, what to order, what to wear, what gifts to buy, and so on and so forth. It becomes a production with a questionable return on investment.

It seems that love is no longer about how we are with each other, but instead how we can materially appease one another. The idea of spontaneous and genuine expressions of love have been supplanted by staged commercialism. This begs the question of whether, in light of this, we really know what love is any more.

If love can cause so much tension, is it actually love?

As we can see from just one day a year, what we term “love” these days actually seems to be more a set of conditions or expectations for doling out one’s affections, more than anything else.

The key here would be the expectations that we as individuals, as well as a society, place on love. Once we remove these expectations, then there would be neither room for disappointment, nor a need for a day to ostensibly love one another, as it would be inherent in our every action and interaction.

This is a task much more easily said than done. If it were so easy, we would all be doing it already. Unconditional love is actually spiritual in nature since it goes, and takes us beyond, the five senses, mind and intellect where our expectations reside. It is also why most of us tend to misunderstand unconditional love—because we are so outwardly focused on input from the five senses, mind and intellect. Given this, the first and most important step we can take in developing unconditional love would be a spiritual one. That is, undertaking spiritual practice, where the journey goes inward and where we examine ourselves, as opposed to looking outward for validation.

Another key here is practice. It is not something that will necessarily happen overnight. Practice makes perfect, which would hold true even when learning to love unconditionally.

Maybe this year, instead of worrying ourselves about “love” on one day, we can try to develop and express it unconditionally every day.

Facts from Wikipedia

  • The U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately 190 million valentines are sent each year in the US. Millions of people use, every year, digital means of creating and sending Valentine’s Day greeting messages such as e-cards, love coupons or printable greeting cards.
  • Mother’s Day continues to be one of the most commercially successful U.S. occasions. According to the National Restaurant Association, Mother’s Day is now the most popular day of the year to dine out at a restaurant in the United States.
  • According to IBISWorld, a publisher of business research, Americans will spend approximately $2.6 billion on flowers, $1.53 billion on pampering gifts—like spa treatments—and another $68 million on greeting cards.
  • Mother’s Day will generate about 7.8% of the U.S. jewelry industry’s annual revenue in 2008, with custom gifts like mother’s rings.

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Read more:

What is spiritual love?
What spiritual practice can I do?
Lessons learnt from the kitchen sink
What is actually important after all?

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