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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Being a Valentine

Most popular story behind the observance of Valentine’s Day is that when the emperor Claudius II of Rome outlawed marriage for young men with the presumption that single men would make good soldiers, a priest by name ‘Valentine’ defied the injustice of the decree by continuing to perform marriages in secret.

When Valentine’s actions were exposed, Claudius ordered him to be put to death. Valentine is remembered for being sympathetic, and heroic in bringing people together that share love for each other. When someone asks to be their valentine (like “Be my Valentine”), they are expecting you to go that extra mile to be like that priest.

Although the origin of Valentine’s Day may have started in the west, the emotion (Love) of this day appears to be universal. It is narrowest to confine such a supreme emotion only to romantic relationships rather than to the broader context of relations to include families, siblings, friends and neighbors etc.

As no two individuals are identical (except for identical twins), relationships require adjustment and tolerance. Desiring to build a relationship with a homogenous individual that share our own values and belief system is a reflection of our own limited understanding of differences.

Two traits that help in building a stronger relationship in midst of differences are communication and compromise. Unless and until we as individuals develop the habit of communicating irrespective of the surrounding circumstances, we’ll never understand the intricacies of a relationship. As the intimacy of communication gets stronger, the level of awareness of doing/ not doing what the other person likes/ not likes increases and then it is a matter of compromising to the other person’s demands with in one’s own bounds.

When you see two individuals as friends next time and see no commonalities among them, know this that they are tolerant individuals to each other’s differences than accepting similarities. Accepting differences must be viewed as an asset in a relationship than a liability. So go ahead and accept the differences with an open mind and be a genuine valentine to someone that you love today.

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