Affirmation & Valentine’s Day

Hey you lovely people, happy day of love!

Here we are in the first half of the day, and if you’re anything like me, you’re still in your pajamas watching YouTube videos and not thinking too much about the fact that your instagram feed will soon be clogged with gushy declarations of love. Or, if you’re even more like me – that’s exactly what you’re thinking about.

Much like a surprising majority of people, I hate Valentine’s Day. The only person that this holiday is actually good for are the card company CEOs. It’s an institution. We should rebel. Anyhow, it’s days like today that simultaneously mean nothing and everything to me, depending on the way that I’ve tilted my lens.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of affirmation. Where does it come from? Where do we seek it? What does it mean? What should it mean?

It comes to mind that Valentine’s Day is nothing more than an instrument to force you into the world of affirming – both your partner and yourself.

In the past few weeks I have been bombarded with the knowledge that there are people who have recently come to the conclusion that they hate me – only, plot twist – they’ve never even bothered to speak to me. Girls think that I am some sort of mega slut because I would rather spend my time with my guy best friends, and then there are others whose jealousy dictates that I am an awful human in general. Countless others have pegged me as a brash and intimidating girl. And then there are others who think that I am an utter airhead.

It’s really unfortunate, not to mention discouraging.

The other day I was getting breakfast with one of my best girl friends and she was telling me about how she smashed her PT test for our campus’ ROTC program, but she prefaced it with, “I don’t want to sound conceited but…” (or something to that affect), and in that moment I was suddenly hit full force with the devastating nature of the concept of affirmation that our society offers. She, honestly, had no reason to be humble, she did an amazing job and she earned her pride, she earned her pat on the back because she worked hard, but, because of the world that we live in, she was afraid to admit how great she was because she was afraid to sound stuck up.

It strikes me how unfortunate this is.

As a culture we are really, really good at being dissatisfied with what we have. This comes in the form of possessions or body shapes, anything. We are professionals in the game of unthankfulness.

Here we are, sitting in our cozy homes, on Valentine’s Day – a day whose very lifeblood is essentially based in the concept of affirmation – and we if we are single we are hating ourselves, and if we’re not we’re probably dissatisfied.

Valentine’s Day can carry a lot of weight if we let it.

For me, it was the first day that a boy ever called me beautiful. It was the first day that a boy made me feel special and sought out. It was the the first time in my life that I felt wanted.

It’s unfortunate that all of these things came from boys, but is that not what our culture has engrained in us from day one? I have always been the “friend,” the “wing-woman,” in the latest vernacular – the “duff.” It’s a role that I’ve recognized time and time again. I’m the friend that the guys use to get access to my friends, I’m the one whose told that my friends are beautiful not the one on the receiving end of the compliment. And because of that society has painted  picture for me that makes me feel utterly unwantable.

But you know what I’ve started to realize?

I don’t care. God wants me.

My hips may be wider than the average girls. My shoulders may be broader than the women on the runway. My eyes may be smaller than the models, and my eyebrows thinner. My lips may not be as full and my ears may be pointed, my waist may cinch to early and my calves stretch out farther than others. I may have a birthmark on my temple and Orion’s Belt fashioned from freckles on my arm, and my nose may be smaller than others and my hair shorter than those beachy beauties…. But you know what, I love all those things about myself.

Because that’s exactly what God had in mind when he created me.

Our culture has sadly promoted an idea that we are the judges, that our affirmation should come from one another and the media. This means that we’ve bred a society of people who either validate via tearing others to pieces or people who are all together too scared to admit that they’re actually pretty cool.

Lately though, I’ve started to realize that I’m actually pretty awesome… but more than that, I’ve been realizing that it’s okay to say it. I am smart, and passionate, and funny, and loving, and beautiful – and no amount of chocolate shaped hearts or punny cards are going to change that. 

I didn’t wake up to a “good morning beautiful” text this morning, but I did wake up to a Great God who is in ceaseless pursuit of my heart. Tell me which is better.

I may not have a “boo” to spend today with, but I do have the company of some really genuine friends, and the open arms of my Lord. That’s sort of a big deal. Bigger still is the fact that my life is going to go on, and one day I’ll be married and then I’ll have a Valentine forever – but even then, it’s not about me, and it’s not about him – it’s about celebrating the unique masterpieces that we are, and all of the things that we will accomplish together. 

Today my affirmation doesn’t come from compliments, or chocolate, or extravagant displays of affection, instead I’m choosing to believe that I really am awesome. I don’t think that God messed up when he put those extra ounces of curve in my body, or encouraged the laugh lines around my eyes, or cut himself off short when counting the hairs on my head. I think that I am the way that God wanted – flaws and all.

So for those of you celebrating Valentine’s Day alone, take some time to celebrate yourself – after all, you’re pretty dang awesome! And for those of you who are celebrating with your boos, appreciate each other and recognize that it’s because each of you as an individual is amazing that your relationship is working – not because one of you is really good at affirming the other.

Happy Valentine’s Day lovies. Party on.

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