Valentine Aid for Hurting Hearts

FebruaryBird&Valentine lg - Valentine Aid for Hurting HeartsI like the idea of a day dedicated to the celebration of love. We can always use more love-consciousness in our lives.

The origins of Valentines Day have been traced back to the ancient Roman feast of Lupercalia, a spring fertility festival celebrated on February 15th.

This holiday was usurped by the Roman Catholics and recast as a saint’s day emphasizing the more elevated love of God. St. Valentine got the honor. There is some question about which St. Valentine was being celebrate as there were three with that name in the saint catalog.

It was not until the 14th century that the day was connected with romantic love by Chaucer in a poem honoring the impending wedding of King Richard II. This theme was eagerly adopted and continues today.

Unfortunately, our modern St. Valentine’s Day is excessively commercialized and seemingly more fueled by fear than by love.

Am I expressing my love enough? Did I spend enough? Did I go over-board? Is my love reciprocated? What! You got me 99 cent daffodils from Trader Joes?

Given all the media hype with its idealized vision of romance, a satisfactory handling of the day can be difficult for any of us. It is doubly difficult, however, for the recently bereaved (recently = 1-5 years), particularly those who have experienced partner-loss.

In a world aflutter with romantic imagery, those lacking partners or cherished loved-one could feel awfully out-of-synch, if not wretchedly pained. The ache of the hurting heart can be breathtaking in its intensity and glacial in it emptiness.

To those with a hurting heart — and this could extend to anyone who has suffered a relationship loss in the near or distant past — I offer the following:

Valentine’s Day Prescription:

1. Let Yourself Feel

It takes a lot of energy to suppress your emotions and it is not very healthy. It’s a lot like stoppering up a boiling teakettle. The pressure will build up and eventually blow. It’s okay to feel bad. Not comfortable, but okay.

If you are up for it, become curious. Explore where it feels bad — the texture, sensations, and location. Breathe into it and see what happen. Can you relax it a little. Write down any words or visuals that arise. Praise your heart for its capacity to feel love and the pain of its loss.

2. Embrace the Loss

As children we are often taught to replace a loss with something new, like a new puppy or hamster, before we have had time to mourn the relationship that has ended. This is confusing and, like suppressing feelings, dams up the emotions and delays healing.

Invite the lost loved one to be a part of your day. They will be there anyway, lurking at the edges. Look at photos, recall good memories, make a Valentine’s Day card for them or write a letter expressing any thoughts and feelings you need to release.

3. Grieve in Company

Again, as children we were likely to learn that grieving is something we must do alone. This is a myth. It is much better to have company. The support of loving others is a healing balm. Invite a caring friend to participate in your Valentine’s Day celebration and again during the long weekend that follows it.

4. Laugh

Laughter is an excellent prescription for the hurting heart. It brings oxygen into the body and relaxes tension in the chest. Do this with a friend. Laughter is contagious. Watch a funny movie, read a favorite comic book, tell jokes or silly stories, make funny faces, walk weird, try out different laugh sounds. When you catch your breath, check inside and notice how you feel. Repeat.

5. Love Thy Self

This can be especially hard for those socialized to please others. For me it’s sometimes a challenge just to identify what I want let alone allow myself to receive it. I often use a pendulum or tarot cards to decide. A coin flip can work too.

You can start self-loving with your body. My body often seems like a separate being with a mind of its own anyway. Hey body what would feel good? The body will readily tell you what it likes by how it reacts to your input. Tense means NO. Relaxed, excited, ecstatic means YES. Watch out for that mind which tends to jump in with a list of reasons why its a bad idea. This can induce body tension that has nothing to do with the feel of the activity itself.

Make a list of all the possible ways you can indulge your body’s senses. Think of what might feel good, smell wonderful, taste divine, inspire the eyes and delight the ears. Spend time on each one. Writing the list can be almost as enjoyable as following through. Be as outrageous as you can. Don’t let money be an impediment. You don’t actually have to do the whole list. Try out some of your items and notice what happens.

snake on skateboard longTry doing something out of the ordinary.



In celebration of St. Valentine’s Day, I am giving away a 45-minute COMPLEMENTARY HEART-HEALING SESSION to the first five people who sign up between now and the end of the February.

Schedule your appointment HERE

In this telephone session you will be asked some feeling-revealing questions and guided through some heart-easing exercises. Together we will come up with a list of next steps you might take on your heart’s journey.

These time slots go quickly so if you’re interested, don’t wait. SCHEDULE NOW.

Michelle Peticolas


WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Grief Transformation Coach Michelle Peticolas, Ph.D. helps people transform their grief with a holistic approach to mind, body and spirit that heals trauma, reframes past attachments and releases limiting beliefs while uncovering a true life purpose and direction. If you’re ready to shift into a whole new way of being with death and loss, a new way of living your life, get Michelle’s complimentary guide, Essentials for Grieving Well at


  1. […]  For more tips on surviving Valentine’s Day, see last year’s blog Valentine Aid for Hurting Hearts. […]

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