I hope everyone had a Happy Valentine’s Day!
Valentine’s Day is originally a saint’s day honoring Saint Valentine. Saint Valentine is a Roman Catholic priest martyred for his commitment to love and marriage.
His decapitation was called for by Emperor Claudius II Gothicus in the year 270-ish. Yay, love!
Given that perspective, it does seem a bit strange that we celebrate with chocolates, teddy bears, and over-commercialization.
Here’s the thing, though. We know that the happiest people are the ones who find reasons to celebrate. Whether you agree or disagree with the modern version of Valentine’s Day, you don’t need roses or chocolates to use today as a reason to celebrate.
Instead of celebrating Valentine's Day with roses and chocolates, let's celebrate that you are loved!
One of my favorite celebrations of love comes from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margorey Williams. In the story, the Skin Horse is explaining to the Velveteen Rabbit how to become real.
“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’
‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.
‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’
‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’
‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” – the Skin Horse
Love makes you real.
As the mother of two children whose combined weight at birth was almost 22 pounds, I have stretch marks from my collarbone to my thighs. I understand how it feels to feel “loose in the joints and very shabby.” But once you’re Real, you can’t be ugly, except for people who don’t understand. My stretch marks don’t make me any less worthy of love. They are simply one type of indication that I am real.
Sometimes a woman will come to me for help with losing weight. I am not a weight loss coach, but often the inability to lose weight is a symptom of a deeper, underlying health issue. These underlying issues can include hormones or digestion or even immune or detoxification deficiencies.
Often, the underlying issue is also emotional. The woman may come to me wanting to lose weight, but it may be that what she wants is to feel attractive. She wants to feel worthy. What she wants is to feel loved. And she needs to learn to love herself.
This may be the reason that many scoff at the modern idea of Valentine’s Day: it’s a commercial holiday that can reinforce loneliness or feelings of not being loved or worthy of love. We can choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day a little differently this year. This year we will celebrate that you are loved and worthy of love.
Let's celebrate that you are loved!
Being and feeling loved doesn’t come from looking one way or another. It doesn’t come from being a certain weight or jeans size. It doesn’t come from any source of external validation, any accomplishment, or any measure of performance.
What if we could choose to love ourselves so much that we became real? Because once you’re real, you can’t be ugly. Once you’re real, the voices of judgment and external validation, and expectations start to fade away.
Real is a thing that happens when you are loved.
And you are. My friend, you are loved, and you are worthy of love.
Let’s celebrate that we are loved, and let’s focus on being real.
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