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Did you know that there isn't a lot of information about who Saint Valentine really was or what he did to achieve sainthood in the Catholic Church?
Or that the celebration that happens every February 14th got its start after the publication of the 14th century poem Parliament of Foules by Geoffry Chaucer?
This seems like a dubious start to a holiday that is supposed to celebrate love and affection between intimate companions.
Although, to be honest, I wonder why a holiday that celebrates love focuses just on couples. I mean, doesn't it defeat the purpose of love to spend a day moping and unhappy because you don't have a Valentine? Even if you have a Valentine, what good is to be be disappointed or upset with them if they forgot to get a card/gift/flowers/dinner reservations? Which brings me to the loving message I'd like to share with all of you this St. Valentine's Day 2011...
One of the greatest commandments in the Christian religious tradition is "Love your neighbor as yourself." Which, in light of how we treat each other in the world today, makes me think that the problem isn't a lack of love for others, but a lack of love for ourselves. After all, we cannot love others very well if we have little love for ourselves.
I think this is an especially big hurdle for those of us who live lives touched by illness, sadness and despair, because sometimes we mistake these conditions for proof that we are less than we truly are. It doesn't help that there are others out there who jump to this conclusion too and don't hesitate to share this erroneous information with us.
I think Valentine's Day is the perfect time to start loving ourselves more and recognizing that our situations and illnesses aren't judgments about who we are. It's time to embrace the truth about ourselves and who we are so we can choose joy, always. It's time to love ourselves first so that we can truly, compassionately and empathetically love the other people in our lives.
So really, the answer to this week's question is a win-win: if you don't have a Valentine whose name you would use to answer this query this year, another wonderfully acceptable answer to my question is "I love myself."
My love to all of you too.
So... who do you love??? Leave your answer here or over on the Oh My Aches and Pains Facebook page and fill my day with a little comment love.