Love is a universal language. It is a language we all understand at an instinctual level – it speaks to us in a way that can navigate great distances through time and space. It is the life force of our beautiful planet and without it we would cease to exist.
Maybe we don’t understand it fully but we can all recognise it, it is the feeling we get when we stare up into those big brown eyes of the person we love, that feeling of deep connection when we hold our child for the first time. Or the boiling over of giddiness when you catch someone’s eye and hold onto their gaze, realising that some-how we are one consciousness.
Valentine's Day comes around every year and is celebrated on February 14. It originated as a feast day honouring Saint Valentine. Valentine was a catholic priest who lived in Rome in the 3rd Century. At the time of Valentine’s life, many Romans were converting to Christianity, but the emperor Claudius was a pagan and created strict laws governing what Christians could, and could not, do. The emperor believed that all Roman soldiers should be completely devoted to Rome, therefore he passed a law preventing them from marrying. Valentine began to marry these soldiers in secret Christian ceremonies and so his reputation for believing in the importance of love began. In the end, Valentine was exposed. Initially jailed for his crimes against Claudius, he was later executed. His day of execution was 14 February in the year 270 AD.
Today, Valentine’s Day is celebrated across many Western cultures as a day to express love and admiration to one another. Every year on February the 14th, couples from all over the world send flowers, chocolates and gifts to express how much they love one another.
Some people may scoff at Valentine’s Day. Another attempt by Hallmark, Clinton and their like to extract more cash from us to keep their profits rolling in at an otherwise bleak point of the year. My inner boho girl wants to trample over such a consumerist and cynical grab for my affections and ignore Valentine’s Day for the marketing sham it could be.
I can’t help having my spirit lifted up by those around me that I love and love me in return. I want to be able to take the time to show them just how much they mean to me and Valentine’s Day seems as good a day as any to do this. Sure, we could all do this every day and we should as it energises us and brightens up the world of the people around us. Unfortunately, sometimes we forget and tend to take the people we love most in the world for granted. I believe every now and again we do need a little nudge. So, let’s take out the consumerism, competitiveness and narcissism of it all and take a minute to treasure those around us who light up our world and show them how much they mean to us!
Love speaks through eternity over vast distances in a way we don’t fully understand. Have you ever had a sinking feeling deep down in your stomach only to realise a loved one is in pain or you think of someone and suddenly they call you on the phone? How can you tell that something has deeply hurt your child emotionally before they even say a word, just by a feeling? Love is the answer to all those questions. Love is strong, powerful, meaningful and binding. It is one of the few things on the planet that has the power to lift you up onto cloud nine or have you writhing around on the floor in pain. It binds us all together and gives us a reason to get up in the morning.
So why do we need to show love? What was Valentine fighting for? As human beings, we need to love to live, without it we would shrivel up and die. Although almost no-one can agree on its definition, most people agree that love plays a significant role in both physical and psychological well-being. Various studies show the benefits of love. Love’s role in mental health is wide-ranging, but some examples include:
- Babies who are not shown love and affection in the form of frequent holding and cuddling may be developmentally delayed, ill or in extreme cases die.
- Feeling unloved is strongly correlated with feelings of low self-esteem and depression
- People who both feel loved by others and who report loving other people tend to be happier.
- Love can play a role in long-term health, and feeling emotionally connected may help increase immunity.
So, if there was ever a day to show someone how you feel, let Valentine’s Day be that day. Love is a physiological need like breathing or water. We all need it to survive. Saint Valentine showed us that against all odds, love can prevail. Maybe it’s even worth dying for?
When we give love, we get it back, that is the universal law. So, whatever you do this Valentine’s Day, make sure you do it with love.