A few years ago, I had dinner with a couple who had just immigrated to Canada from China. One of the questions that I asked them was to name their favourite holiday. Without hesitation they stated that it was Valentine's Day and then went on to describe the importance of this celebration in China.
Apparently from early morning women sit by the window of their offices watching for the florist. Their whole self-esteem is based on whether they receive a bouquet that day. If they do, they feel special and, if not, they are devastated.
My next question seemed to be one based on common sense. I asked "Are the most coveted bouquets made up of a dozen roses?" The man smiled broadly and replied "Oh, no. They are made up of eleven roses". I was confused but he quickly cleared up the confusion by stating "You see the woman is the twelfth rose".
Well, it's a beautiful romantic notion - unless you consider the reality of life.
You see, the divorce rate in North America is now over fifty percent and women statistically continue to live longer than men. The result is that there are many more single people in society than ever before.
Valentine's Day can be a sad one for a jilted lover, a lonely person or someone who is not in a committed relationship.
When I was a little girl, my mother would buy Valentine cards for us to give out in our classrooms. One of her stipulations was that we would have to give one to every person in the class. That wasn't easy because we sure didn't view everyone as attractive, "lovely" or deserving of our attention! In fact, we would sometimes spend more time choosing the appropriate card for the person who we didn't like than for the person we liked the most. We certainly didn't want to say the wrong thing or encourage someone inappropriately!
Often the person who appreciated the card the most was the one who was least popular in the class - because that person might only receive one card - the one from me!
Well, each of us has expectations in life - even when it comes to Valentine's Day. Some of you might be sitting by the window hoping the florist will show up. Don't let you self-image be totally tied to his appearance though. He might be lost or have misplaced your order or be overwhelmed by the demands of the day.
Remember that there are far more singles in society than ever. Not everyone will receive a gift or flowers this week.
And more importantly, think about the person who might never receive a gift or flowers or a wish of "Happy Valentine's Day" unless you send it.
Life is choices. How will you choose to celebrate Valentine's Day this year? It's not what you get but what you give that is important.
Happy Valentine's Day.
Dr. Linda Hancock, the author of “Life is An Adventure…every step of the way” and “Open for Business Success” is a Registered Psychologist who has a private practice in Medicine Hat. She can be reached at 403-529-6877 or through email firstname.lastname@example.org