A man embracing a comically large heart with his whole body.

Yes, Valentine's Day Reminds Us of Love

So, in the interests of transparency, my birthday is on Valentine’s Day and my last name is Hart, so I do have a particular affinity for this holiday. We do know Valentine's Day is a very old tradition, stemming from medieval times.

The history & traditions of Valentine's Day

There are some who believe it originated as a Catholic holiday, dedicated to a priest (there are actually several) named Valentinus or Valentine, who helped Christians escape Roman persecution, performed marriages forbidden by an Emperor, etc. Some also believe it originated from a Roman festival.

The Romans had a festival called Lupercalia in the middle of February - officially the start of their springtime. It's thought that as part of the celebrations, boys drew names of girls from a box. They would be paired with them for the year, often culminating in marriage. There are a lot more stories that surround this holiday but, suffice it to say, it has evolved into a day that celebrates love and has one thing in common. They reflect love for others.

Valentine's Day reminds us to show love all year long

With that in mind, I like to think that even if you do not choose to acknowledge or celebrate it, it can be a little nudge to remember to tell/show those we love and care for, just how much they mean to us. Not just for a day dedicated to that, but, rather, all year long.

RA management can dominate our thoughts & actions

Those of us managing chronic disease, have a lot on our plates. We have ongoing and constant demands. This can mean we may develop a bit of tunnel vision when it comes to our loved ones.  Not intentionally, but it happens, nonetheless. 

I like to think I do not take my family, friends, medical care team, etc for granted. But I know that I have. There have been times when my preoccupation with my own health and RA management have dominated my thoughts, actions, and overall life. Those demands can and have included expecting my care team to accommodate me.

Recognizing expressions of love and support from others

Valentine’s Day can be just the little reminder we all need to step back and take stock of all of the many wonderful expressions of support, love, care, and work that others do on our behalf. Take some time to personally reflect. When I stop to think of all that others do for me, it is humbling. I am overwhelmed at the support, love, and care that people have given to me over the years. 

Everyday examples of support and care

Try to consider this. It need not be only those closest to you in proximity. Think of the online folks you connect with who have offered support and advice. The medical people who have assisted you in your RA journey. The person at the hospital who did your labs gently and with concern for your comfort. The neighbor who plowed the snow from your driveway or mowed your lawn out of kindness and concern.  The friend who brought you food when you were ill or just home from surgery.

When you stop and truly consider it, there is a lot of love we offer to one another. Valentine’s Day can be, if nothing else, a chance to remind ourselves that we need to share that love with those who support us as we manage our RA and move through our life’s journey.



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