Everyone loves to hate the day of love.
Some see Valentine’s Day as a mere commercial holiday designed to boost retail sales. Some prefer to call it “Singles Awareness Day.” Some just look forward to the day after Valentine’s Day so they may buy the half-priced candy wrapped in red and pink.
When you are single, watching happy couples shower each other in affection while you are alone may be hard to watch. When you are in a relationship, the expectation to show off and treat your significant other can be exhausting.
As a result, many people grow to resent Valentine’s Day and bemoan its existence. Why does it have to be such a controversial holiday?
Ever since I was in elementary school, I have always had a soft spot for Valentine’s Day. Exchanging notes and buying treats for classmates brought me joy every year. Intricately decorating my Valentine box in all of my favorite colors was a beloved tradition. I hosted Valentine’s Day parties for my girlfriends where we would exchange gifts and make crafts.
During my childhood, Valentine’s Day was about showing affection to anyone close to you. It was the time to have fun showing generosity and feeling the love from friends and family. I always looked forward to this little holiday which made the cold month of February just a bit brighter.
However, as I got older, I began to see the jaded views surrounding Valentine’s. If you are single, it is hard to know others are celebrating with their significant other while you are left alone. Comparison becomes torturous watching others get showered with gifts, words of affirmation and quality time with their loved one.
Maybe it is not just the aspect of lacking a loved one on the day. The blatantly commercial aspect of the holiday pressures others to buy more and show off for their significant other, causing a superficial display of love. Others just feel unsettled by an obligation to celebrate their love on a fairly arbitrary day.
If it were up to me, I would restructure the way we view and celebrate Valentine’s Day.
It is not about flaunting your love or trying to show it off materially. It is not just about romantic love between couples. It can be so much more than that. Ultimately, Valentine’s Day is what you make of it.
Learn to celebrate love in your life, regardless of relationship status. Spend Valentine’s Day showing love in whatever capacity you have: to your friends, your family and even yourself.
Buy your friends their favorite candy. Call your mom and ask her how she is doing. Take time to spend the day doing something which makes you feel special, whether that means wearing your favorite outfit or making time to do something you love.
Instead of allowing the day to make you feel lonely or unloved, view Valentine’s Day as something to look forward to. It gives us the excuse to break away from the monotony of daily life and dedicate a day to expressing our feelings.
You have the capacity to show love to others and to yourself; why not allow this love to permeate the day in new ways? It sounds cheesy and cliche, but this is what Valentine’s Day is all about. It allows us to express all the grand displays of emotions which may be over-the-top on any other day.
Instead of dreading a Valentine’s Day by yourself or feeling obligated to celebrate excessively, embrace the ways you can show and experience love in your own way. Learn to love love in all of its manifestations.