I have experienced the full range of emotions about Valentine’s day in my 30 some odd years of living in a Hallmark society. The range (in alphabetical order so as to not indicate a subliminal preference) includes:
I have also expressed my feelings about Valentine’s day using descriptors such as:
A Marketing Ploy
Obviously, I am all over the place with how I have felt about Valentine’s Day and the things I have said about it in the past.
Hear me out. And try not to gag. It’s impolite.
Valentine’s Day is a day for us to celebrate love. Even if it was contrived by commercial enterprise seeking to prey on our sensitivities by imposing a day that we would feel pressure to economically stimulate the flower/chocolate/greeting card industries. Even if you are not in a relationship. Even if you are in an awful relationship.
I’m a simple gal. You had me at chocolate. Anyways…
Many people, myself included at one point in my life, think that Valentine’s Day is rubbish because shouldn’t their partner be treating them special and with love every day of the year? That type of entitled feeling towards love and the actions coming from your partner is a bad way to go. Should we show those we love that we love them every day? Yes, of course that would be ideal. But if you are thinking of having love showered down upon you like a thunderstorm during monsoon season every day for the rest of your life, you are setting yourself up for a huge disappointment. The obsessive and instinctual part of love that we experience at the beginning of a relationship is very different and much less meaningful than the enduring choice of love that will carry us through the good times, the bad times, and the mundane day-to-day.
I read the funniest thing yesterday: “Relationships are hard hard hard work. We never arrive and kick up our feet and ride the waves of white hot monogamy.” TRUTH! Let’s not only get real, but let’s act accordingly.
I think the negative emotions and associations with Valentine’s Day can be overcome by doing away with traditional thinking. As a celebration of love, we can feel free to celebrate and express that in any way that is authentic to us. So go out and buy flowers. But give them to your co-workers or people on the metro. Perform random acts of kindness all day and smile at every person you see. Instead of grand gestures, just do the dishes or something that you don’t normally do at home – it may speak louder. Make time for your loved ones and give it away freely without distractions. No need to buy the most glittery expensive card at Hallmark. Write down how much someone means to you on a piece of notebook paper and give it to them. Put a few well placed and thoughtfully written post-it notes all around the house or on cars in the parking lot. You don’t have to spend money or give in to the pressures of a commercialized holiday.
And if all else fails, take just 15 seconds, and look your partner/friend/family member in the eye and tell them how important and special they are. It doesn’t have to be cheesy. Or gross. Or over the top. These days, the bigger and fancier and more outrageous it is, the more fake it feels. Because we are all real people, living real down to earth lives. And all we want at the end of the day is to feel loved. So do your part and spread the love.
Never squander an opportunity to show people how much they mean to you and to act with great kindness. Not on any day of the year. But especially not on Valentine’s Day.