And that’s just this week!
We are ‘conditioned’ into behaving in certain ways and expecting certain things on a designated day – be that St. Valentine’s Day, Shrove Tuesday, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Smile Day, No-smoking day, Leap-Year proposals or even Just Be Yourself day….I made the last one up…did you spot it? If it was banded around for long enough – and more importantly, if the retail and media could make huge amounts of money out of it then ‘Be Yourself Day’ might just catch on…but I won’t be putting money on it.
We are brought up with these imposed ‘days’ and we learn to react accordingly – particularly Valentine’s day. There’ll be a massive demand for chocolates, red roses, candlelit dinners and tacky red lingerie this week – and why? Because we all have ingrained within us that this is ‘what we should do’ to show/prove our love or lust for someone. WHY?
If I am loved I want to hear about it regularly and not just on one of the 354.25 days of the year. I’d want gestures, consideration and generosity at any random time – not on a day designated as THE day to show love and desire.
Valentines come with strings. The strings are the expectations of both receipt and pay-off. There’s an unspoken message that goes along the lines of “if you loved me you’d buy me/take me/give me…..” or “I’ve bought you something, what will you give me in return?”…or “We must make a big show of what we give to each other so that other people will envy us”…or “If I give you this gift then you’ll have to repay me with…..”. These are all just emotional blackmail and manipulations and yet we can fall into that trap every year.
How many of us have said “I don’t believe in all this commercialism”; only to then have that sinking feeling of disappointment when no card lands on the doormat and no bouquet arrives at the office. The little kid inside us has grown up with the hope and longing of feeling special and wanted by someone who will show this, either secretively or with joint planning – and this deep need isn’t easy to override with our adult logic and reasoning.
How do you know that the love you’re reading about in your Valentine card is genuine and heartfelt if the sender didn’t even write it themselves? How do you want love to be shown to you anyway?
Some people feel loved when their partner does something unexpected and random to show that they have knowingly considered their feelings and needs; others like to have gifts; others like their partner to be doing practical things around the house for them; some of us want the ‘free’ gift of time together spent in emotional intimacy, fun, laughter and the deeper sharing of our souls…..but that’s just too scary for most people!
There are different types of love too, from the romantic and sensual Eros love; the friendship love; the pragmatic and logical type of love; the Agape love for humankind; the game-playing flirtatious Ludos type of love; and even the neurotic, anxious, needy, manipulative and manic love of the damaged, fragile ego. The last two types of love drain and deplete us instead of energising and enhancing our lives.
Mature Love = I need you because I love you
Immature Love= I love you because I need you
There’s nothing like a relationship to expose your cracks (psychological and emotional) and no better place to heal. We all need a good mixture of relationships that can each enhance our lives in their own way, be that with our children, work colleagues, friends, therapist, family, neighbours or community…..and they don’t require a designated ‘day’ to make them real….they are for every day if you put the care, time and discernment into them.
Will I get a valentine this year? Highly unlikely. Do I want to feel special and loved? Of course! But not just because ‘the powers that be’ determine that this must happen on a day that happens to be in the middle of February each year. Oh, and another thing – I don’t like pancakes!
Maxine Harley www.maxineharley.com www.the-ripple-effect.co.uk www.qpp.uk.com
And that’s just this week!