As the Valentine weekend approaches the shops are full of heart centred merchandise. Cards, trinkets and roses everywhere reminding you that the significant person in your life deserves special attention.
Years ago, I worked as a waitress and Valentines was always an interesting time. The restaurant would create a special set menu. For one night only there would be strawberries, chocolate and supposed aphrodisiac foods on offer. From a business point of view, it was great. The couples would be allocated an hour and a half time slots which meant it would usually be possible for there to be three sittings during the evening. An increase of at least a third.
While it was clearly a forced event, most couples would still seem to be having fun and entering into the spirit of it but I also remember noticing that there would always be a few who did not seem to be enjoying the evening, or, more specifically, each other.
Each time I approached their table to bring another drink or fresh course they seemed relieved that there was somebody to speak to and more food and drink to occupy them and take the focus off the awkward silence.
Working in the service industry gives you ample opportunity to study human behaviour and it is fascinating. As individual as people desire to be they cannot help but be the same. My observations have equipped me with the skill of sensing a lot of what really sits under the surface of the facade we display to the world.
Watching these couples seated close to each other and yet struggling to find common small talk is an image that has stayed with me all these years. What I felt was the disappointment in themselves and the other and yet fear of letting go even though they had nothing more to contribute to the union.
They would arrive in silence, eat in silence and leave in silence.
Knowing what I know now, I understand that you have to give love to yourself first. This is counter to what most believe but you cannot give what you do not have.
Build your self-love reserves and then give it away.