Valentine’s Day is a beautiful day filled with hearts and some of the greatest candy money can buy; but, for some, Valentine’s Day is the toughest day of the year. It is the day which reminds them of their loneliness, the day they remember a love who got away, or the day they grieve the loss of a loved one who used to make them feel like the most important person on earth.
In thousands of homes, apartments, dorm rooms, and basements across the world, men and women are waking up, stretching, and thanking the Lord that Valentine’s Day is over.
Love Goggle Syndrome
The most logical, sensitive, emotionally in-tuned people in the world can fall prey to Love Goggle Syndrome (LGS). This phenomenon happens when we fall head over heels in love with someone to the point we forget the world around us to a surprising degree. There is a Pregnancy Goggle Syndrome (PGS) too, but we’ll save that discussion for another time.
When couples unknowingly don their love goggles, they begin to see the world in pinks, reds, and butterflies. They bore other people with incessant stories about their significant other; yet, thanks to the love goggles, all the frowns and kill me now expressions on their friends’ faces look like smiles and please tell me every detail about how happy you are expressions. They giggle together and cuddle while their dinner companions attempt to keep their food down. Sometimes, in severe cases of LGS, couples will begin dressing alike, finishing each other’s sentences, and feeding each other. Oh, and plaguing everyone with some version of the following question, “Is he/she not the most amazing man/woman in the whole world?” (No, I am pretty sure she is not. But thank you for paying attention to the story I just told about losing my job, wrecking my car, and pawning my grandma’s ring so I could pay rent this month. It helps to know how much you both care.)
LGS can completely throw off the emotional climate of a room, (“Cindy seemed down? Really? I did not pick up on that?” “Oh, it was easy to miss. She was just trembling and fighting back tears. Hey, maybe you missed the subtle clues because your eyes were glued to your love muffin for the entire two hours we were with her.”), can freeze time (“How did your presentation go?” “You mean the one I had three months ago?”), and distort reality (“Jim and Jess broke up?! I thought they were so happy?” “Happy? Did you not notice them growling and spitting at each other?”).
LGS Can Happen to You Too!
This may be hard to believe, but I too have suffered from LGS. My friend, Lauran, can recall me looking almost delirious when I introduced her to Eric. (I love you, La, but if you had been carried off by rogue gorillas that day, I am not sure I would have noticed. But, I promise to show you grace when you come down with LGS. I will record you shamelessly and save it for playful blackmail, but I will show you lots of grace. Love you, La!)
What is Delightful to One May be Gut-Wrenching to Another (or, Second-Hand LGS)
LGS is (typically) an unintentional and fun byproduct of young love, but unfortunately being surrounded by fawning couples, especially around Christmas and Valentine’s Day, can be almost unbearable for those who are struggling with loneliness. For the young woman who thought she had found the man of her dreams, but decided to go in a different direction with his life. For the man who waited patiently for the woman he loved to grow to love him, only to watch her marry someone else. For the professional who hides behind layers of accomplishment, but deep down simply longs to go home to someone’s loving embrace each night. For the crushed widow who did not get a dozen Valentine roses delivered to her for the first time in thirty-five years.
If you are in the throes of LGS, I would encourage you (as I would have encouraged myself) to take a step back, remove the goggles, and do a semi-weekly check of the world around you. Who needs a hug? Who needs a listening ear? Who needs to sit with a friend in complete silence and watch a movie while soaking up the unspoken support?
How is my roommate’s life going? I should check in on my high school buddy I have not talked to in a while. Are my neighbors in need of anything?
Blessing the Brokenhearted
Have you ever had a broken heart? When you did, who rallied around you and comforted you? How did they support you?
Are you going through a season of brokenness? What do you need from your loved ones and friends right now?
The passing of Valentine’s Day brings a collective sigh of relief to thousands who are sick of seeing hearts everywhere they go. I can certainly remember a day when I wanted no one to wish me a Happy Valentine’s Day – especially those with LGS!
Now that the day has passed, what can you do to bring comfort to someone? Maybe even someone who appears to be completely fine. Can you offer some subtle companionship? A movie? Coffee? Help with a home project? Even just striking up a conversation in the break room? Can you also resist the urge to turn your conversations back to your thriving love life?
Walking down the street there is a sea of smiling and stoic faces, each holding back a secret:
- I am lonely.
- I am depressed.
- I am not sure I want to go on living.
- My relationships keep failing.
- I feel completely boxed in at my job.
- My children tell me they hate me.
- I just want someone to understand me.
- My spouse just moved out yesterday.
- It seems like no one really knows me or cares about me.
We are among them. We too have struggles we carry with us. Burdens we would love to unload. Maybe the first step in blessing someone else should be asking ourselves, “What do I need from others?” and then, “How can I give that to someone else?”
We often do not have to have the right words to say. We can bless a struggling friend simply by being there – showing support. In essence saying, there is nowhere else I want to be right now but here with you. (One of Eric’s favorite song lines is: “Words aren’t remembered, but presence is” – and it is true. You won’t remember what people said to you on your wedding day, but you will remember who was there.)
Valentine’s Day is a memory. I hope, for you, it was a good memory. Now, take a scan of your world and see if you can make a great memory with someone who needs a little TLC from the aftermath of Valentine’s Day. What would you long for if you were nursing a wounded and broken spirit?
What are three ways you can be a blessing to someone who struggled through Valentine’s weekend? [Comment below!]