Like many annual holidays, we circle back to the day of romance we call Valentine’s Day that takes place in the United States and in other world locations. The associations include, what I like to call, the three C’s: Cupid, Chocolate, and Consumerism (Of course there are many more, but it would ruin my alliteration). Historically, Valentine’s Day, or St. Valentine’s Day, is originated from a religious, Christian background. If you are now realizing you have no idea what this religious holiday is about, you can click here to learn more. While the history of February 14th is not why I am here to write to whoever stumbles here, you can educate yourself if you ever so desire. Why am I writing about Valentine’s Day? Why do I feel inclined?
The United States does a great job of making holidays, events, emotions, etc, consumerized where we think we need to fall in love, have a “bae”, and be happily in some sort of romantic relationship. Valentine’s Day, to me, feels like only certain people can participate in these twenty-four hours. It is marketed towards the people who do have a romantic partner, who are married, who are trying to confess their love to a special someone, and to the people that have a great amount of self-love for themselves. Honestly, it is absolutely genius. Genius in a humbling way to bring people together through love. Genius in a devious way to have one goal, which is to make money off of bringing people together through love. Congratulations to the people that have something to celebrate today. In fact, we all should have something to celebrate. Single, taken, or complicated. We all have something or someone to love. But why dramatically romanticize a specific day? What does this holiday mean for those who got their heartbroken two weeks ago, who just had a loved one pass away in the last year, who battles every single day to love themselves? It may be a holiday people want to avoid, ignore, pretend like they forgot is today.
Let’s make this more meaningful. Don’t get me wrong. Love is absolutely meaningful and can even go beyond making that a huge understatement. What I should say is, let’s stop romanticizing this day and letting consumerism ideas dictate our levels of love to show someone. I provided four brief tools that anyone can use to celebrate Valentine’s Day despite your current status and without romanticizing the day.
- Let this be a day of, first, loving yourself. What can you do today that celebrates love, gratitude, and care towards your own self? While everyone is on different levels of the self-love journey, do what you can with what you have. That is enough.
- Next, who are the people in your life that show love to you? Not who you show love to. Although, they can be the same. Odds are, you show fewer love actions, both verbally and nonverbally, to the people that you know love you because you either have to or because you don’t know anything different besides not loving them. Thank them for loving you. If you are like any normal human like I am, having someone love you is not an easy challenge for them. But they are choosing to do it and should be acknowledged.
- Who are the people in your inner circle you love? What are ways you can show your love towards them without spending money? Pro tip… don’t let Valentine’s Day be the one single day out of the year you decide to do something special for those you love. But since it is Valentine’s Day, you might as well join the trend train everyone is aboard on. Writing a post-it note, warming up their car on this cold winter day, sitting down and asking them about their day without intervening, and the list goes on.
- Paying attention to love languages. If you are unfamiliar with love languages or what yours is, there are five different ones: words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, quality time, receiving gifts. I am a firm believer that you can interact with others through your love language without it being romantic. It is simply another way to connect with others. Try to get creative. All five are self-explanatory but can be acted upon in hundreds of different ways.
Words of Affirmation: Shoot someone a text with giving a reason why you are grateful for them.
Physical Touch: Give your best friend or sibling a massage or a big hug.
Acts of Service: Offer to give someone you love a ride to work, to get groceries, to go out.
Quality Time: Turn your phone on silent and spend uninterrupted time with someone important to you.
Receiving Gifts: Buy your person a coffee, Venmo them $5 for a Valentine’s drink, or fill their car with gas.
All of these are so simple and do not pertain only for February 14th. Be mindful of the people in your life. Be mindful of the love you have for them and more importantly for yourself. Make Valentine’s Day like any other day. Choose to celebrate your life and your love each morning you wake up.