Southern Health
2 min readFeb 10, 2023

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What are your thoughts on Valentine’s Day?

February 14th is brewing around the corner as I write. There has been a myriad of responses when asked for ‘first thoughts on Valentine’s Day’, and it would at first glance appear as if the day of love is, unloved. Digging deeper than the commercial understanding of Valentine’s Day has revealed we are not as aware of the historic and foundational meanings behind this bittersweet day.

If you do scratch the surface be prepared for tales of martyrdom, the supernatural, celebration, and political subterfuge. It is a day deep with religious meaning claiming not one, or two, but three St Valentines of differing countries and centuries. Myths, legends, and stories abound in the 24 hours that contain this celebration, and we focus on love.

But amongst the flowers, chocolates and many candles lit, we should ask, what is love? How do we write about a day which induces shudders of both pain and delight? Historically, themes of sacrifice, honour, the love of and most of all belief in the other, actively weaves throughout the traditions and flows into our modern expression of love.

If we move beyond the Medieval celebration of ‘courtly love’, this day suddenly opens wide to embrace hope. Here is the good news it brings. By reminding us that love is more than the concept of ‘warm fuzzy feelings.’ In truth, love is the hardest choice to make. It requires us to be bigger than we are, deeper than we seem and embrace generosity with open arms.

I am privileged to see this love reflected through those I work with, in their everyday actions delivered with caring compassion, and to observe the small differences it makes. Something we rarely reflect on is the ripple effect those acts have as they carry on out into our community. In a world which is hungry for peace, Valentines Day could just be an important reminder of the power we all hold, love.

As February 14th approaches, the Chaplaincy Team at Southern Health wishes each and every one of you a Happy Valentine’s Day.

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Southern Health

Southern Health provide community, specialist mental health and learning disability services for people across the south of England.