Happy Valentine’s Day, Galentine’s Day, and Palentine’s Day

Beverly Hills Courier columnist Dr. Eva Ritvo is a psychiatrist with more than 25 years’ experience practicing in Miami Beach. She is the author of “Bekindr- The Transformative Power of Kindness” and the founder of the Bekindr Global Initiative, a movement to bring more kindness in the world. She is the co-author of “The Beauty Prescription” and “The Concise Guide to Marriage and Family Therapy,” as well as the co-founder of the Bold Beauty Project, a nonprofit that pairs women with disabilities with award-winning photographers creating art exhibitions to raise awareness. Dr. Ritvo received her undergraduate and medical degrees from UCLA, and psychiatry residency training at Weill Cornell Medicine. 

Hello Beverly Hills. Today is a day to celebrate love. If we broaden our focus from romantic love to all love including self-love, surely we can all find a way to participate. 

Valentine’s Day originated as far back as 496 AD in honor of one or possibly two saints, Saint Valentine of Rome, along with Saint Valentine of Terni. In the late 1300s, Chaucer first linked the holiday to romantic love and in the late 1700s the focus became the expression of love thorough poetry. Since then, the tradition of giving cards and candies has flourished. In 2017, over 190 million greeting cards were exchanged. If you include the ones given by children in school or over the internet, the number is most likely close to one billion. 

Over the last few decades, social norms have changed radically and now there are almost as many people single as married in the U.S. Not surprisingly, our relationship with Valentine’s Day is also changing. 

Galentine’s Day was ushered into pop culture in 2010, when the TV series “Parks and Recreation” celebrated it on Feb. 13 as a day to honor our closest girlfriends. Even more inclusive is Palentine’s Day, when we celebrate not only our girlfriends but our male friends, as well. 

So, what will you do today? When we pull the lens back and look at today as a day to honor all of our important relationships, hopefully we can all find a way to make the day joyful. Love is one of the most positive and powerful emotions we can feel, so why not relish the opportunity today presents? 

It is a time to reflect on those closest to you, a romantic partner, friends, family and children and express your positive feelings. How can you best show them that you love, value and cherish them? Author Gary Chapman, PhD. in “The 5 Love Languages”, describes different ways in which love can be expressed: receiving gifts, quality time, 

words of affirmation, acts of service, and physical touch. These can easily be adapted to non-romantic relationships as well. Make sure that you understand your love language as well as the receivers. The choices for you to express your affection today are almost limitless when you begin to think about these diverse categories. 

According to the Dalai Lama, “If you don’t love yourself, you can’t love others.” So today is also an opportunity to reflect on self-love. In our hypercritical society, we can easily lose sight of our own worth. If you want to embrace this holiday, make sure you take care of yourself by having a high regard for your own well-being and happiness. If you are feeling rested and happy, you are far more likely to give to those around you. Remember emotions are contagious. If you want to express love, you have to feel love and why not start with yourself then radiate it out to those around you. When you share this potent emotion with the right person, you are sure to get it back in return, making this a very special day indeed. 


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