Every Valentine’s Day, you always hear the same complaints about the holiday brought up – to such a point that I’m almost surprised that I’m still bombarded with little hearts and cupids every year, considering so many people are opposed to it.
And it makes sense. Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be the only day of the year that you show your partner that you care for them. And more than that, you shouldn’t have a day of the year that reminds you, “oh yeah, I’ve kinda been neglecting this person lately. Guess I should get them some chocolate or something.” You should be making romantic gestures like that all throughout the year, not at some predetermined date agreed upon by society at large.
And what about single people? People who can’t seem to make a relationship work for whatever reason? People who just aren’t ready for or don’t want a relationship? Aromantic people who want nothing to do with the whole ordeal? People who have other things on their mind? The world doesn’t revolve around romantic love after all – there is more to life than that. And yet every year, there’s this predetermined date that society has gotten together and agreed should make these people feel bad for being single. We should bombard these people with images of happy couples everywhere, indirectly implying that single people just can’t be as happy or fulfilled. I have to admit, I fall for it a little bit, even if I’m perfectly happy being single. It doesn’t seem to matter – the constant, inescapable message that I can’t be fully happy until I’m in a relationship kind of makes me wonder if they have a point.
But maybe Valentine’s Day isn’t really about all of that – the flowers, the commercialism, the shame. Maybe Valentine’s Day is really just as simple as a celebration of love. Romantic love, sure, but that isn’t the most important kind of love there is.
There’s the love that we have for our family and friends.
There’s the love that we have for ourselves, and our own validity and purpose in what we are.
There’s the love that we have for our fellow humans – that love that makes us want to keep total strangers protected from the horrors that life has to offer.
Love comes in all shapes and sizes – it’s not just one thing. When we reach a helping hand out to someone in need, that act is done in love. When we tell ourselves that we’re just fine the way we are, that we don’t need someone else to complete us, that act is done in love. When we accept that maybe our loved one can’t afford all the flowers and the chocolates this year but you’re okay with that because at least you have each other, that act is done in love.
The problem is not Valentine’s Day itself. The problem is that we’ve limited our definition of what love can be, and we’ve prepared preset ways to enforce how you show love. But today shouldn’t be about how society tells you to love. It should be about your own love, and how you can use that love to make the world a better, less fearful place.