The Salvation Army URL has changed to

Find out more

Love beyond the teddy bears

22 February 2021

Love beyond the teddy bears

Celebrating the gift everyone can afford – kindness

Words Colleen Morris

Valentine’s Day celebrates the richness of love – not just with a romantic partner, but with our children, neighbours, colleagues, strangers and people who are hurting.

Commercially, we are encouraged to get lost in roses, cards and expensive chocolates – but if we’re honest, we don’t all feel ‘loved’ on Valentine’s Day. And as we navigate COVID-19, many of us feel more isolated than ever. That’s why, depending on your circumstances, Valentine’s Day will reinforce one of the following statements about you:

I am in a happy, loving relationship.

The relationship I am in falls beneath my expectations of what a loving relationship should look like.

I am alone (and it sucks).

Whether you resonate with statement one, two or three, you deserve a gift this Valentine’s Day. And if you’re sharing the day with someone else, they can be given this present as well.

It is one of the most undervalued, yet affordable gifts that you can give to your partner or friend. And no, it’s not a teddy bear that says, “I love you.”

It is the gift of kindness.

On an almost daily basis, I witness people say they experience conflict in their couple relationship, but they love each other. I believe that one of the chief indicators of a loving relationship is kindness. Kindness is being a true, genuine and generous friend to your partner or loved one. It is also about being kind to yourself, acknowledging you are worthy of love and being able to give it to others.

Where a relationship does not feel secure and we feel alone, Valentine’s Day invites us to make the intentional effort to show people we love them through a gesture or gift. Being a person who loves the occasional gift, I believe that this can still be a beautiful expression of love when given with thought and intent. However, the notion that a romantic gesture or gift is ‘enough’ to sustain any relationship, is false.

Use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to change the way you treat all your loved ones by doing something special – a small gift, a meal together or even a walk along the beach or in a park. Be as creative as you like, just so long as it is something that they will enjoy.

If you are alone this Valentine’s Day, then the gift of self-kindness is equally important. It is easy to become prey to your own negative thoughts when the media tells us that ‘everyone’ is in love and deliriously happy – which, of course, is simply not true.

Self-kindness is an absolute necessity for good mental health and positive wellbeing. It might begin at that place where you practise saying “no” to a request for help and do something that you enjoy instead. Go for a walk, buy yourself a bunch of flowers, read that book, have a massage – you get the idea!

Instead of feeling inadequate or alone this Valentine’s Day, practise kindness. It is the best gift for a partner, a friend, a stranger – and even yourself. Whether a gesture is big or small, we have the ability to change someone else’s day. Remember, it’s people that matter, not things. So be kind, and accept the kindness you also deserve. That how Valentine’s Day can be filled with enough love for everyone.

Colleen Morris is a family therapist in Geelong


No comments yet - be the first.

Leave a Comment

- Will not be published

Email me follow-up comments

Default avatarWould you like to add a personal image? Visit to get your own free gravatar, a globally-recognized avatar. Once setup, your personal image will be attached every time you comment.