I have an ambivalent relationship with Valentine’s Day.

When young(er), I wished and prayed that I would have a Valentine by the time the day arrived. I was almost always disappointed. Much, much later, when I married at 31, I chose Valentine’s Day for the wedding itself. That changed my position and perspective. Every year, as our anniversary rolled around, I was (mostly) able to see the day in a positive and heart-warming way. After 14 of annual celebrations, we separated then divorced, the former occurring just weeks before the marking of our 15th year. That Valentine’s Day was significant – not a celebration, but certainly a marker not about relationship with another, but with myself; not about another’s love, but my own – for me. And now, 10+ years later, I admittedly vacillate between the wishing/praying of my younger years and an almost complete disconnect from the day itself.

Would I like to have this day marked with roses, chocolate, a sweet card, a romantic dinner? Of course. And is any/all of that predicated on someone else? Uh, no.

So, before Valentine’s Day arrives, I’m asking myself some questions. Maybe you could as well.

  • In relationship, can I remain clear and committed to all the places my passion lies – and for whom, all the ways it is expressed within and through me? Will I express it – in articulate, even lavish ways?
  • Out of relationship (and frankly, even in), will I refrain from bitterness or caustic cynicism; instead, smiling generously and genuinely at those who are captivated by this day, grateful that love still holds sway, still conquers all, still survives and thrives?
  • Will I treat myself to the gift I most want to receive? A leather-bound journal. A beautiful ring. A good bottle of wine. A weekend away. An exercise routine. An Instant Pot. A quiet day of writing.
  • Will I courageously ask for what I most want? An honest conversation. A conflict resolved. A decision made.
  • Can I, will I, wholeheartedly declare-and-believe that I am whole, complete, and worthy of love – first and foremost my own?
  • Will I recall, recite, and recommit to these two truths: I am not too much and I am more than enough?

It’s estimated that more than 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, And, not surprisingly, women purchase approximately 85 percent of them. Given such, let’s buy and send them to our girlfriends, our sisters, our daughters, our mothers, ourselves. Not because we feel the need to mark such an arbitrary date and contrived “holiday,” but because we deserve to make it our own.

Toward that end – making the day our own – let’s boldly declare our love (to others and self) whether roses are delivered or not. Not because it’s Valentine’s Day, but because it’s who and how we are: strong, glorious, expressive women who do not shy from telling our truth, from giving our heart, from risking everything on behalf of what matters most.

So before Valentine’s Day – and in preparation, know this: you are worth the greeting, every sentiment held within, and all the love (and then some) that you can possibly bear.