09 Feb 2019 18:30 IST

Valentine’s Day and the personal takeaways

It’s mainly about expressing romantic love, but don’t forget to show appreciation and gratitude too

Valentine’s Day, the time of year when there is a special outpouring of romantic feelings and love, is just around the corner. Like many occasions, this day too has become commercialised beyond recognition. Heart shaped greeting cards and balloons, stuffed toys, flowers, chocolates and gifts abound during this period, their marketing boosted by numerous promotions and offers. People are encouraged to express their love and celebrate romance. In effect, this occasion has become blatantly commercial as also another excuse to party.

Yet, shorn of the retail symbolism, this day does present an opportunity for people to express their love and affection to one another. This occasion is also misused as, often, unreciprocated feelings tend to be forcefully expressed by many, leading to awkwardness and unpleasant situations.

However, if both parties concerned share their feelings for each other, the attention, expressions of love and associated gestures do create special moments. Moments like these build great memories and leads to strong relationships. On the flip side, though, one day of expressing love cannot offset a year-long lack of the same.

Is there a long-term relationship message that hides beneath the celebrations on Valentine’s Day?

Before I get to that, let me share an analogy. If you like sports, I’m sure you watch games and matches on television, often with friends. Recall the last time you watched a sporting event and try to remember your behaviour during the same. Many of you may have yelled in excitement, slumped in despair, shouted encouragement, cursed, jumped, or even left the room!

In short, the experience involved a continuous expression of emotions, which is what makes the sporting experience so interesting. On the other hand, imagine watching such a sporting event in a quiet, silent manner and then applauding or despairing with great restraint after the match is over. Such as experience would be boring, and not something to look forward to.

Similar is the case of expressing emotions in life. Be it love, affection or appreciation. One cannot express these once in a year or even a few times in a year. These need to be expressed as frequently as possible, and the more often, the better.

Positive emotions to be expressed are not only about romance and love. It includes appreciation and gratitude too. Organisations today realise the importance of this and plan for formal events of recognition. However, that is also not enough. This is because not everyone is recognised. The reality is that everyone’s contribution is needed to ensure that things function as planned. Recognition events are largely aimed at achievers who have contributed in a visibly commercial manner.

What about the house-keeping staff who clear the bins every day? Without that happening, even the best achiever would find it difficult to function. There are several such unknown, hidden and unsung contributors in our daily life. Similar is the case of even our near and dear ones. They put up with disappointments and stress because of your pursuit of your dreams and ambitions. I know of so many parents who spend a lonely time, even on special occasions, because their children are busy with their work and careers. And so, too, spouses, children, friends, etc.

This Valentine’s Day onwards, make it a habit to recognise all these silent, known or unknown contributors and express your positive emotions to them. Thank them, express gratitude, affection, love... whatever is appropriate. The key is to express that emotion and, more importantly, to do so frequently and regularly, instead of waiting for the next Valentine’s Day.

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