Valentine’s Day

As an elementary-age child, I remember making Valentine’s Day mailboxes out of Kleenex boxes. It was fun to give and receive valentine’s messages along with special treats like candies and pencils. Some messages were generic such as “You are sweet” or “You are cool”, signed by the recipient. Some valentines were handmade, with customized messages. These were extra special.

Occasionally a kid would alter a positive message by crossing out or writing in words that changed the message to something not so nice. My heart would sink.

It is important to model kindness to children so that they can also in turn demonstrate kindness to others. Empathy is defined as the ability to understand the thoughts and feelings of another person.

School valentines were meant to be distributed to all children in the class, not only children that you “liked” or belonged to the same group. Spending time with people who are different from you and building relationships is a great way to help build empathy. School and work settings is a good place to start building positive relationships.

We all have basic emotional needs—to feel special, valued, loved, and appreciated. Words of  affirmation is one of the love languages. Others include acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch.

Yes, I know that many people hate Valentine’s Day. That Valentine’s is overrated and being single on Valentine’s may trigger strong feelings. Even those who are in a partnered relationship can become triggered when there are unmet expectations and relational conflict.

This Valentine’s Day, instead of focusing solely on a partner(s), try thinking about relationships from a broader perspective.

I encourage you to share positive messages with people in your life that you value and appreciate. Take time to write an extra special message to the people that you love most.

This is one big area that I consider underrated.

Written By: Charlotte Johnson, MA, LPCC

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