It used to be a tradition to send Valentine’s cards or notes to your classmates when you were in the lower grades in school. The number of cards you received was supposed to determine how popular you were and how much you were liked. The time before Valentine’s Day, was full of anticipation and in some cases dread wondering how many cards or notes you would receive. Later on, as you got older it became more important to receive that one special card from that one special person.
This simple ritual is part of a lifelong pursuit of signs and reassurances that you are loved, treasured and valuable to someone and preferably more than one person. It is unfortunate when your opinion of yourself and your self-worth is determined by others. One of the most important traits you can develop is an innate sense of your own worth. It needs to be independent of any external feedback. It needs to be independent of how many Valentines you receive.
A sure fire way to increase your self-esteem is to focus on giving something to someone else. Not only will it make someone else feel good, it will make you feel good. It will also allow you to feel pleased with yourself. This will decrease and eliminate any doubts you may have about yourself.
The ultimate pleasure comes when love notes are mutual and appreciated. Love notes do not have to be limited to Valentine’s Day. Hopefully, you learn that love notes are not always written on paper and they don’t have to come to you in an envelope. It isn’t about paper notes or cards at all. There are love notes all around you all the time; the smile of a stranger, a favor, a present, a hug, the unexpected call or kindness of a friend.
Don’t be the person who counts your valentines. Be the person who sends the valentines on Valentine’s Day and all year.
Patricia Frank is a Licensed Psychotherapist. She can be reached at 305-788-4864, 212-308-0309.