By Dwight Bain
It’s the worst day of the year for millions. No, I’m not talking about April 15thwhen Income Taxes are due–I’m referring to Valentine’s Day. Turns out this ‘romantic’ holiday has become one of the loneliest and least popular holidays according to the National Retail Federation. Here’s how American’s listed out their preferences for special days–
93% - Christmas/Hanukkah
87.8% - July 4th
83% - Mother’s Day
82% - Easter
77% - Father’s Day
60% - Valentine’s Day
54.2% - St. Patrick’s Day
With all the promotions on TV you might think Valentines is more about money than it is about love since the aaverage guy will spend $169 on jewelry, clothes, perfume, flowers or dining out… (twice as much as women will spend according to the National Retail Federation). The Greeting Card Association reports that people will send about 150 million cards to show their love, in all American’s will spend $17.6 billion dollars this year. So with the average person spending $4.52 on Valentine’s gifts for their pets, or the people who skip the love to go ahead and buy themselves the gift they want, is this day even about romance at all?
Valentines Day has some interesting expectations associated with it since there is a cultural tendency to believe a person who doesn’t get cards and candy aren’t really loved, just lonely… and nothing could be further from the truth. In case you are feeling that way today, let me give you a little perspective.
Saint Valentine’s Day began as a liturgical celebration to honor an early Christian leader named Valentinus who was a martyred for his faith in Christ. Before he was killed he wrote notes to encourage others to stay strong in their faith. Quite a stretch from a heart shaped Hallmark card with a cute puppy on the cover. The wonderful tradition of writing a “Valentine” note to honor his sacrifice has turned into just another commercial holiday.
I believe the cultural expectation of getting romantic stuff, (like a gift card to Outback), from the person you want to receive it from will do nothing but set you up for crushing disappointment since there are 365 days a year to show love, and when someone ignores their partner for 364 days, 1 day won’t make up for it. It can’t. Yet too many people feel lost, lonely, rejected and hurt because of shattered expectations about how they weren’t loved and appreciated by that special someone they wanted to love them, the way they wanted to be loved…. see how confusing and convoluted that is?
However, when you move from the cultural model of getting; over to the Christian model of giving to others, expecting nothing in return for your kindness; then you are moving forward in the path of one who would rather die than to give up his faith. That kind of self-less love is a real reason to celebrate. So turns out it’s not about the chocolate after all.
About the author- Dwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor and Certified Life Coach in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change.
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