Changing the Perspective on Valentine's Day
As kids, we celebrated Valentine's Day by exchanging treats with our family, classmates, and teachers. Sometime in there, we start engaging in romantic love, and the other types of love in our lives seem to fade into the background. Valentine’s Day becomes a holiday only for the exclusive club of people in committed, romantic relationships. If you really think about how many people Valentine’s Day excludes, you realize just how weird that is. Christmas isn’t only for one group of people, we all celebrate New Year’s Eve… so what’s with Valentine’s Day?
The origins of Valentine’s Day are rooted in romantic love, and celebrating that type of love is important, but there are so many other kinds of love that exist and deserve celebration. We are capable of infinite types of love, yet it feels like romantic love is the only important one.
If you think about it, Valentine’s Day might be even more for people who aren’t in romantic relationships, because it gives you an excuse to focus one day on spreading and receiving love. In (most) romantic relationship, we regularly put in loads of effort to show our significant other they are loved. But friendships and families are different--they’re more subtle. You can go weeks without talking to or seeing your friends, let alone telling them you love them. Birthdays are just about the only opportunity to celebrate them. So, why don’t we use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to show our friends and family that we love them?
Part of the problem seems to come from this awkwardness around sharing our feelings. In romantic relationships, it’s expected that you talk about your feelings and the relationship often. But in friendships and especially families, you’re kind of just supposed to “know.”
When I was younger, I was so afraid of showing people my feelings, especially how much I cared about them, because they might not feel the same way. I know I'm not alone in this. We all hide our feelings, even feelings of love, in fear of judgment.
But here’s the thing: people need to hear it.
Humans are wired for connection. We all worry that we don’t have enough connection or that our connections are fading. Some people more than others, but this is a common human experience.
People need to hear they are loved. They need to hear someone is happy they exist. Even if it's cheesy and awkward, I think we had it right back in elementary school; everyone deserves a valentine.
Focusing on expensive dinners, chocolates, jewelry, and flowers for significant others on Valentine's day limits the possibility of this holiday. Every day of your relationship, you have the opportunity to love your S.O. Valentine's day is another great day to do so, but it can also be an awesome opportunity to show someone you normally wouldn't that you love them.
There is so much love to go around, and there are so many people who need to hear it. I think Valentine's day shouldn’t just be about the couples--it should be about the many different ways you can make as many people as possible feel loved.
Written by Hannah Maine.