While the celebration of St. Valentine's Day has historical reference to the story of St. Valentine participating in "illegal" marriage, this day seems to have infiltrated the commercial market in our culture and a pressured mandate for love and affectionate gift giving. I have heard many references over the past couple of days from people regarding this felt pressure. Many individuals either feel compelled that they "have to" celebrate or be in trouble with their significant other, or a complete refusal to celebrate as a statement of disdain for the commercial pressures of the day.
My thoughts are this. Whether you celebrate out of compelled pressure, or you refuse to celebrate on princple, you are equally bound and controlled by external pressures to make the day what it is. My belief is that for those who feel compelled to celebrate, it builds contempt for feeling forced in the relationship. For those that refuse to celebrate may actively withhold love as an anti-establishment action, and/or may cause feelings of distress in their loved one. So, what can we do?
If we let go of the commercial aspect of Valentine's day, it can be an invitation to make a concerted effort to pay attention to the attitude of love and commpassion for all those who are in our lives. Yes, chocolate and flowers are nice, and there is nothing wrong with giving them as a token of our appreciation and affection. But beyond that, simply recognizing that love is a unifying aspect of human nature can be the bigger gift.
I have hear the argument, "I don't celebrate because why should there be one day designated for love? Shouldn't every day be like that?" My answer is this, "Yes! Absolutely, all days can be that... Including Valentine's Day. Why withhold love on that day?" My point is this, forced action and oppositional withholding of action are two sides of a similar coin. Let go of the opposites and you can freely express love to others without restriction, Valentines Day or otherwise.
May all of you experience Loving Kindness!