With February, comes the most overrated day of the year, right? February 14th is either the day we shower our loved one with gifts and sentimental Instagram posts…. orrrr it’s the day we come forth with our opposing views, claiming we shouldn’t wait for a special occasion to express our affection.
Now I don’t know where the rest of you stand, but I’ve always kind of liked Valentine’s Day. In fact, it could very likely be one of my favourite times of the year. Maybe you’re thinking it’s because I’ve always had a significant other to share it with, and therefore fit into category one above, but that is very far from the case. I’ve been single for a significant portion of my adolescent and adult life, and half of the significant others I've ever had time happened to have a birthday that fell on the same day. So like I said, far from the case.
Instead, maybe I’ve just always had an appreciation for the day. As a kid, I looked forward to those thrilling Valentine’s Day parties in elementary school, eating candies and cookies (obviously) and exchanging the cards I carefully wrote out the day before. Growing up, my mom decorated the kitchen table in celebration, providing pink heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast. And now - not that you need one - but Valentine’s Day is just another socially acceptable opportunity to do something thoughtful for others.
I realize now that these things could be the gateway towards shifting our perspective on a day that many of us dread – and understandably so. While it was once meant to modestly celebrate love and romance, it has since become a commercialized “holiday” that has made us feel obligated to prove our affection if we’re in a relationship and feel shameful if we’re not.
So why not treat Valentine’s Day like we used to? Why not do something for others just like you did in elementary school, when we celebrated the day with our classmates. The parties included everyone – not just our crush. Sure, maybe we’d add an extra smiley, a heart, or carefully select a card for the people we had stronger bonds with, but everyone received a personalized valentine delivered to their “mailbox.” With simple paper cards worth only pennies, we were able to remind a room full of people that they mattered.
Why not do something for others just like my mom did on the morning-of, when she went out of her way to plan a small celebration. Those pink, heart-shaped pancakes she got up extra early to make were a pleasant Valentine’s Day surprise on an otherwise routine morning. With only a little planning beforehand and minutes of her time, she was able to remind her kids that they were loved and cared about.
Why not use the day as an excuse to do something meaningful? Instead of attempting to argue against Valentine’s Day with a lengthy Facebook post, use it as a platform for establishing human connection. Rather than looking at it as an obligation of any sort, see it as an opportunity to make someone’s day a little brighter - whether that someone is a friend, sibling, parent, coworker, significant other or even stranger. Like they say, throw kindness around like confetti. Heart shaped confetti, of course.
If we can change our mentality from the idea of celebrating just a romantic relationship to celebrating love in all forms like it was once supposed to be, not only does the day become bearable, it becomes fulfilling. And if we do this not just on Valentine’s Day, but the days and weeks following, not only will we have a month of love, but an entire lifetime of it.
We’re creatures of habit, so why not make this one?
Now, if you’re still reading this, then maybe it’s a sign I’ve persuaded you into treating Valentine’s Day a little differently this year. However, if you’re one of those people who just like to finish what you start, and I haven’t convinced you of the all the good, at least you can look forward to February 15th – when all the leftover goodies are on sale.
Happy February! Find the good. Share some love.