Finding Joy In Every WeddingDoes anyone in New Orleans celebrate Valentines Day?

I’ve always wondered. It’s so close to Fat Tuesday. Parades are already rolling down crowded streets. Beads are heavily laced everywhere you can wrap them.

Who cares about hearts and roses?

Maybe Valentines is not so special in beignet land. It’s not all that great for a lot of people. Whether you despise the commercialism or are not a chocolate fan to far more serious reasons.

I have had various experiences with the holiday.

I was Valentine Queen in the 2nd grade for my class. Much later I suspected my mother had rigged the whole thing, hearing something about a stuffed ballot box.

Received one memorable box of chocolates. In the 4th grade from my (now friend) Mark. Immediately after receiving the delicious edibles, I broke up with him. Whatever that meant in the 4th grade. Absolutely despicable on my part.

There have been other remembrances since, both given and received. Nothing too big time. Sweet, simple things.

There have been years when I was alone. Which can be a positive thing for many. And was for me for several years. I needed and wanted to be on my own.

Other years, I was in such a painful relationship that the day only heightened my emptiness. I just wanted it to be over so all the commercials would go away.

Maybe you have lost someone this year that makes even breathing seem tremendously difficult.

Rather than hardening your heart to protect yourself, to shield yourself from being sad, or angry, you can give yourself the gift of compassion.

We think about compassion as a response to others’ suffering that causes you to want to help. To do something. To act. We see that in community after community in the US. When disaster hits. People come out of the woodwork to help one another. Ones not so devastated help those whose lives were torn apart.

If you can acknowledge your own circumstances, allow yourself to recognize what anyone would feel given your situation, then you may be more likely to do something for yourself. Something loving. Kind.

Or just fun.

Compassion toward yourself is a wonderful gift.

This doesn’t mean you feel sorry for yourself. Quite the opposite. You objectively recognize and respect what you are trying to cope with, and give yourself a hand.  Some way, however small or large.

Your Valentines Day may not be the giddiest or the most romantic you have experienced.

But it doesn’t have to go by unnoticed.

Because you exist. And have value in and of yourself.


You can hear more about mental health and many other topics by listening to my podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford. Subscribe to my website and receive one weekly newsletter including my weekly blog post and podcast! If you’d like to join my FaceBook closed group, then click here and answer the membership questions! Welcome!

My new book entitled Perfectly Hidden Depression has arrived and you can order here! Its message is specifically for those with a struggle with strong perfectionism which acts to mask underlying emotional pain. But the many self-help techniques described can be used by everyone who chooses to begin to address emotions long hidden away that are clouding and sabotaging your current life.

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Photo courtesy of Deborah Strauss. Click and follow her on Instagram!


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