Throughout my teenage years, like many others then and today, I believed Valentine’s Day was a commercialized ploy to make single people feel miserable. Every year, Instagram is inevitably littered with posts about people’s significant others.
Most posts are like weird, intimate love letters, but online… for everyone to see. No one wants to see that!
Valentine’s Day is the day your friends zero in on their boyfriend or girlfriend and act like they’re the most important thing in the entire world. And if you’re the only single one in your group of friends, I don’t even need to tell you how that feels.
Valentine’s Day used to be my day to be sad and watch rom-coms while having a late-night date with Ben & Jerry’s. I hated when the supermarket aisles started promoting candy hearts and corny cards. My favorite part of Valentine’s Day was the day after, when all the chocolates went on sale.
However, about two years ago, the person I was dating at the time, one of the most cynical people I’ve ever met and a passionate Christmas-hater, said, “Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday.”
I couldn’t believe it. Valentine’s Day is no one’s favorite holiday! It’s more like it’s everyone’s collective least favorite holiday. If you’re single, you have to wallow in the fact that you don’t have a valentine, and if you’re in a relationship, you have to plan how you’re going to make your significant other feel special.
So unsurprisingly, I asked my ex, “why?”
To my humble surprise, she said, “Because it’s a day where I get to show and tell everyone who is in my life my appreciation and love for them.” That’s when I got it. It clicked.
Valentine’s Day doesn’t only have to celebrate one type of love. There are so many forms of love that go unappreciated or are overshadowed by romantic attraction. It doesn’t have to be a day about couples if you don’t want it to be.
Tell your parents you love them. Buy your mom some flowers. Venmo your friends some money for a latte or write some personalized valentine’s notes to those closest to you.
Take advantage of the capitalization of love by making it something fun and memorable for you and those in your life.
I know it’s easy to write off Valentine’s Day as the worst day of the year and sit in your cynical bubble and eat ice cream while crying about loneliness. But give yourself a chance to be appreciative and realize that romantic love doesn’t equal happiness. Singleness doesn’t equal loneliness. The love you share in your own life is no greater or lesser than the love you see between couples.
So take a deep breath, stay off Instagram and eat some chocolate. You’ll be okay!