Happy Valentine’s Day! That simple well wish may have caused you to have one of two knee-jerk reactions: “Ugh, I had almost forgotten it was Valentine’s Day, why did you have to bring it up and make me bitter all over again?” or, “Hooray! Valentine’s Day is here! Hearts and kisses and love,nbsp;yippee!”
From what I’ve observed, it seems as if a very small percentage of people actually like Valentine’s Day, while the majority hate it. Don’t you find it ironic that a day set aside specifically for love–which is most assuredly a good thing–seems to make a lot of people bitter? Why is that?
I have a theory. Aside from the commercialism, I think the reason why Valentine’s Day is a popularly hated holiday is because it focuses solely on romantic love, which is exclusive. For those who are in relationships, you have a day in which you can express your love and receive an expression of love in return; a day of feeling special. Those who are unattached, however, are excluded. You don’t have a significant other? Too bad, you can’t participate. This exclusion can lead to feelings of neglect andnbsp;loneliness, and I’m willing to bet that even those who are secure with themselves and their status as being unattached still feel a little twinge of pain if they happen to catch a co-worker or friend receiving a bouquet of roses or some other Valentine token of love. (I’ve definitely been there.)
Think about it: do you remember dreading Valentine’s Day when you were in grade school? Unless your school didn’t do anything to acknowledge it, chances are that your class probably had some sort of a party in which valentines were exchanged and too many sweets were consumed. I always loved Valentine’s Day when I was a kid, and I think the reason why I liked it so much was because everybody participated–you had to make sure you brought enough valentines for everybody in the class, and you were encouraged to make a receptacle in which to house the valentines iyou/inbsp;received (because it was a given that everybody would get a little something). Nobody–not even the bully, or the strange kid who ate dried glue off the carpet during reading time (true story)–was left out. It’s when we got older and started becoming interested in the opposite sex that Valentine’s Day stopped being for everyone and started being only for those in a relationship.
Am I placing too much value on a Hallmark holiday? Perhaps. Could what I’ve said in this post not even be true in all cases? Of course. Still, though. I’d like to see us turn this holiday on its head, and celebrate ALL forms of true love–the love found among friends, the love found among family members, the love found in a simple gesture of kindness to a stranger, and the notorious romantic love. If we’re going to set aside a day specifically for love, then it only makes sense for EVERYBODY to feel the love. After all, it comes in many forms, and manifests itself in many ways. Why single out just one aspect? So write an encouraging note, give a hug to someone who needs it, smile at a stranger–you don’t need chocolates or flowers OR a significant other to show someone you care. It really doesn’t require any money at all, which is what makes love so beautiful: anybody is capable of showing it. Everybody is capable of receiving it.