Contrary to what many think, the impetus for Valentine’s Day was not a card company. It is more likely the creation of Geoffrey Chaucer, the medieval poet. He connects a tradition of romantic love with the celebration of the church feast of Saint Valentine’s day. In his poem “The Parliament of Fowls” he refers to February 14 as the day birds, and also humans, congregate to find a mate. This tradition in fact did not exist but spread with the popularity of his poem.
Whatever it’s source, I celebrate Valentine’s Day. I like holidays and celebrations. I also think the best person to give a valentine to is yourself. The best person to get a valentine from is yourself. And so I shall. I shall give myself dark Belgian chocolate and dark coffee from a micro-roaster. I will slowly consume these treats while enjoying the company of my cats. I firmly believe you should be good to yourself. If you don’t like yourself what message are you sending to the world? If you don’t like yourself, you won’t treat yourself well and the world will respond in kind. It is not easy to change oneself, but in most cases much easier than trying to change someone else. So I make it a point to treat myself well, even if my current feeling is I am not who or what I should be. It helps me to overcome those feelings.The better I treat myself , the more I like myself. Yes, it’s one of those chicken and egg things.
Living with cats has taught me torturing yourself with doubt and guilt and living with things you don’t like about yourself is a tragic waste. Cats may hesitate, they may assess a situation carefully before taking action, they may change their mind, but they don’t doubt. They may learn from a mistake but they don’t spend time second guessing themselves. No matter what you think they have done wrong, they harbor no guilt. If they don’t like something they attack it to get rid of it, ignore it, or get away from it. They do not waste time over such things and have specific and immediate mechanisms for dealing with life. This no doubt contributes to their ability to get the maximum enjoyment from life, as well.
I like rituals, especially the self-affirming kind. Even cats engage in mutual grooming to affirm comfort, companionship and acceptance, something special in a creature who is constitutionally solitary. For Valentine’s day it means I give myself chocolate and coffee treats and I enjoy my cats and give them a valentine of catnip, too. I relax to beautiful music and indulge myself with a dinner out for sushi. I might buy some cut flowers or a spring plant. Yes, on Valentine’s Day, I give a valentine to myself. The cats approve.