In a few days from today, the annual barrage of hearts and flowers, candy, and cards will make a bevy of florists, card sellers, and restaurateurs just a tad richer. We might associate this day with all things squishy and lovely but the roots of this day are actually pretty gory.
Valentine’s Day actually got its start as a liturgical feast to celebrate the decapitation of a third-century Christian martyr. Talk about losing your head for love!
So what happened that turned this gruesome event into the Hallmark day we in the West celebrate?
According to Lisa Bitel, Professor of History & Religion, at USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences. we may well be able to rest the blame at the feet of the 14th-century England’s word smith and man about town Geoffrey Chaucer.
The love connection probably appeared more than a thousand years after the martyrs’ death, when Geoffrey Chaucer, author of “The Canterbury Tales” decreed the February feast of St. Valentinus to the mating of birds. He wrote in his “Parlement of Foules”:
“For this was on seynt Volantynys day. Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.”
It seems that, in Chaucer’s day, English birds paired off to produce eggs in February. Soon, nature-minded European nobility began sending love notes during bird-mating season. For example, the French Duke of Orléans, who spent some years as a prisoner in the Tower of London, wrote to his wife in February 1415 that he was “already sick of love” (by which he meant lovesick.) And he called her his “very gentle Valentine.”
In a weird way, it almost makes sense. We went from Christian martyrs quite literally losing their heads to lovers losing theirs figuratively 😜
So why you may ask am I prattling on about Valentine’s Day?
When I think about the subject of love, it brings to mind an important aspect of the recovery process. In fact, this is one which I believe is fundamental to successfully finding a path to sobriety.
Self-love and self-esteem are often casualties of a life of addiction, which makes regaining a sense of self-worth so very important.
In her wonderful article on Very Well Mind author Elizabeth Hartney, BSc, MSc, MA, Ph.D. provides 5 exercises that anyone can employ to help rebuild self-esteem during the recovery process.
Over time, grappling with the effect of addiction can harm a person’s self-esteem and make recovery more difficult. Whether you’re contemplating doing something about your addiction, or you’re already on the road to recovery, these five exercises can help rebuild your self-esteem and improve your well-being and outlook on life.
She recommends readers learn to:
❣ Use Affirmations
❣ Forgive Yourself
❣ Learn to Accept Compliments
❣ Be Kind
❣ Make Positive Changes
Great advice I think, and while they might seem like obvious and simple acts to some. To people who are in recovery these ‘small ‘ steps can seem like giant leaps! So of course you have to be able to first forgive and love yourself, then you can tackle the road of change ahead.
Am I alone out here?
How the single can mentally prepare and thrive on “couples” day.
I may be showing my age here, but do you remember playing a game that involved ripping the petals from a daisy and chanting the words, “he (or she) loves me he (or she) loves me not” until there was only one remaining petal and that lone petal determined the fate of whether we were loved?
The best part was that if it did not go the way you wanted on the first try, you simply plucked another and began again.
Ahh, the heady days of youth, still though, even at that young age we somehow knew that our sense of worth to the greater community was tied to our “love-ability”, most kids know they are loved by family sure, but that single day in February held dread for some people.
I can still clearly remember walking up and down the aisles of desks placing my little paper valentines into the paper bags that hung on the backs of the desk chairs, hoping that when I got back to my desk my bag would have at least one and at best many. I honestly think that was my first experience with anxiety, what is weird to me is that at no time did anyone tell us that we were amazing and loved just for being us.
I propose that we begin a new tradition.
😍 Every day we imagine our paper bag is filled with lovely little tokens of appreciation for just how amazing we are! 😍
Write a Valentine’s Day card to yourself!
Whether you are single or coupled this Valentine’s Day is a great time to take stock of your qualities, write yourself a love letter, and lay out all the things you really like about yourself. Far too often are we told what is missing or wrong with us. It is time for each of us to reclaim our own awesomeness!
My Valentine’s day message for you all is to LOVE yourself and appreciate how much better the world is with YOU in it. And if you or someone you care about is suffering from the burden of addiction then contact Heritage Treatment Foundation. If you are in Atlantic Canada you can reach out to our sister facility Searidge Foundation Located in beautiful Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.
No one has to go through this alone. Our compassionate intake team is here for you, call us at 888-999-1968
Even when you are having a hard time seeing your worth, those who know and love you see it still, so for you and for them give them the gift of self-love and sobriety this Valentine’s Day.
The best part? No one has to lose ANY body parts, just shed the things that no longer serve you & rediscover your beautiful self! 🤗