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  • Jojo

Letters of Love: A Valentine's Day Challenge

If there were a Valentine’s equivalent to ‘bah humbug!’ I’d be saying it now. I’m not a big fan of the endless pressure to buy things as a demonstration of love, and more than that, I’m profoundly anti the idea of a day designed to make single people feel crappy about their single status. So, pah lovelug! Or whatever the expression is. Suggestions on a postcard, please.

On the other hand, I am a massive fan of love, and of expressions of love. I just don’t happen to believe that love needs to be expressed via a teddy clutching a velvet heart, or that the celebration of love should in any way be limited to that shared by a couple. Love, in all its forms, makes life better, and sometimes all we have to do is notice how much of it there is around us.

So today, on Valentine’s Day, I want to invite you to love the heck out of the things and people in your heart by writing an alternative Valentine’s card. You can write it in your head, on your phone, in a notebook, or on the back of the receipt for the teddy clutching the velvet heart. You can write it to share (I’d love it if you shared it here, in the comments), or you can keep it totally private. You could send it to all the people you love, in one big, squirmy email. Or you could even publish it on your blog. The point is, spend a bit of time today celebrating love. Notice how it connects you to the world, to your values, and to yourself, in a hundred different ways. Focus on love, and you can't go wrong. Happy Valentine's Day.

Dear things and people that I love. Thank you for being amazing!

I really love the snow-covered trees I saw last week in the mountains. I also loved the gooey melted cheese that we had for dinner more than once. Melted cheese in general, in fact. I really do love you a lot.

I love the picture my friend sent me of a snake with a little unicorn hat on. I love my friend for thinking of me, for knowing how much I would love the snake, for having the impulse to reach out and share. I love the friends who called me yesterday to see how I was doing at the start of my first full week as a freelance coach and writer. I love my friend round the corner, and the big bump in her belly that is about to be a brand new person.

I love my concrete gargoyle, the good spirit of my little flat, and I love lots of the poems hidden in poetry books on my shelves. I love Marmite. Happy Valentine’s Day, Marmite! I also love caramel wafers, and my ballet shoes, and the black and white photos of my parents on the wall. I love that poor Peace Lily, which has never flowered since I bought it home eight years ago, but which somehow stays alive in the face of my clearly sub-standard care.

I love courage, for sticking with me whenever I am afraid and moving slow. Thank you for making me jump out of the plane, and hold the spider, and strip in a room full of people. Thank you for helping me leave the places that have made me sad: the wrong relationships, the wrong jobs. Thank you for shaking me up, for speaking clearly when I was ready to listen.

I love you, wrinkled balloon rabbit. And to the person who remembered the story about the modelling balloons: I love you madly and deeply. Thank you to whatever little instinct told me to swipe right instead of left, despite a recent heartbreak and a flood of fear.

I love you, red lipstick, leave-in conditioner, bike, little yellow Buddha, grapefruit juice, and soft pillows. I’m so incredibly lucky to have you all.

Happy Valentine’s Day, mum! I love you. Thank you for sending me all those cards when I was young (I know it was you, by the way).

Happy Valentine’s Day, to every single one of you feeling loved, unloved, lonely, happy, joyful or afraid today. Thank you for being brave. Thank you for reading this card. I wrote it just for you.

Big love.

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