We love life, not because we are used to living but because we are used to loving.
⁓ Friedrich Nietzsche
February has been dedicated to lovers ever since the first letter began with “My Valentine”. From there, the month became a season devoted to human connection and its expression. Love in its romantic form reigned supreme with all its pomp and circumstance. Our senses delighted in the perfume of flowers, the decadence of chocolates and other gustatory treats, and of course intimate moments with our significant others.
What about those of us without romantic dates on Valentine’s Day?
True to our nature, we find ways to adapt to different situations and break the confines of tradition. February still is the month of love — but such love that extends beyond the classically amorous to embrace other forms that similarly nurture and make us feel more human.
Embrace Your Community
Philia — platonic love embodied within meaningful friendships — is the inspiration behind Galentine’s Day. Celebrated on the 13th of February, it was introduced in 2010 by the character Leslie Knope from the hit series Parks and Recreation. It was her personal tradition to reconnect with her gal pals over brunch with waffles and a round of exuberant gift-giving. This practice resonated so much with the viewers that it became a real-world event celebrating female friendships. Ladies adopted this day to just be themselves and enjoy each other’s company whether they were single or in a relationship.
Galentine’s Day honors the connections we foster with our friends, which is readily evident in quintessential female bonding. Those rejuvenating moments filled with stories, laughter (sometimes tears), hugs, and little tokens of appreciation all typify this kind of love. It is a sustaining relationship characterized by mutual comfort and kindness within the circle of a found family.
On this Galentine’s Day, go on a date with your friends, catch up on each other’s lives, and have a heartwarming meal together. Why not surprise your bestie with a fountain pen (and matching ink)? It is one of those gifts that keeps on giving, a remembrance of shared interest and continuous connection.
Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.
⁓ Rainer Maria Rilke
Philautia or self-love is celebrated during Singles Awareness Day on February 15. In 2001, it was initially concurrent with Valentine’s Day and created specifically for those without significant others. However, a group of teenagers headed by Dustin Barnes decided to reframe the loneliness and isolation usually equated with singlehood into self-empowerment instead. In 2005, the day after Valentine’s Day became officially recognized as a day for honoring self-love.
Single Awareness Day focuses on the individual as the determinant of their own happiness. All other forms of love are shaped by how deeply we appreciate ourselves. Learning to love yourself goes hand in hand with developing self-awareness. This kind of love is a mindful practice of understanding your strengths and weaknesses, realizing your own value, and making choices that improve your well-being. As you nurture self-love, you begin to encourage self-compassion — that capacity for forgiveness and gentleness when we make mistakes — that helps us be more resilient.
Self-care routines are one of the ways of being loving to yourself. These habits are grounded on promoting and maintaining personal well-being. Mindful practices include cooking a healthy dish, meditation, and taking a stroll. Journaling is important since it can likewise help you become familiar with your body, mind, and heart . Take it one step further by sharing these practices with your friends in the form of spa dates, a camping trip, or a yoga session. I personally look forward to sharing my creative journaling through art and writing sessions with friends.
You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.
Love is a Choice
Given three consecutive celebrations this February, we have the opportunity to experience this biological and cultural phenomenon in all its complexity. Whether you choose to commemorate one or more forms of love with your friends or yourself, may you open your heart with awareness and give each moment your attention. Being present can deepen both the giving and receiving, create ripples, and leave an impression that lasts a lifetime.
Use the code
LEKZ10 to get a 10% discount!
* Not applicable for HopDrop, Clearance, On Sale items, and select brands.
Written by @lekzumali
Check out her musings on Instagram!