Happy Valentine’s day to our readers. Firstly, we’d like to say there’s nothing wrong with taking a day to celebrate your significant other, especially when society has created certain expectations around the date of February 14.
However, there are a few things wrong with what this holiday has come to signify. It is highly consumer-centric. It is a reminder for people who want to be in relationships that they aren’t, and a reminder for people who don’t want to be in a relationship that society wants them to be. It is a reminder for the LGBT community that their love and relationships aren’t the norm within the story of the straight romances plastered everywhere it can be past New Year’s. It is a reminder that societally, the desire to be alone with oneself is considered abnormal. We must always have a person attached to us, and that person must be someone who fits the mainstream definition of “normal.”
And finally: Valentine’s Day is yet another example of society’s tendency to over-glorify romantic relationships and undervalue other sources of love in life.
There is an unspoken but commonly accepted viewpoint in American society that one special person must be a source of love and support above all others. With this person, you share the deepest, most vulnerable parts of yourself. This person is also the only source of physical affection.
Realistically, however, this is too much significance for one person to have. It is too much pressure to put on a relationship. Yes, there certainly can be a special romantic place in your life reserved for one person. This shouldn’t however, be at the expense of having close friendships, nor should it be seen as more important.
Why isn’t it considered more normal to show physical affection in platonic relationships? This editorial staff wishes society allowed for platonic hand-holding and cuddling between friends.
Ultimately, it is isolating to believe that only a single relationship can hold such a high importance, upholding that lofty societal depiction of romance. The reality is that different people play different but equally important roles in supporting and loving you throughout life.
A richer life pulls love from all sorts of people and places. A rich life is so full of love from these places that it isn’t any less vibrant without a significant other.
Relationships don’t have to be a fairy tale. Putting so much pressure on one person doesn’t help the relationship stay in a good place. Relying so much on another person also makes it that much easier for an abusive relationship to take hold. If society saw love differently, there would be more freedom to find closeness outside of romance without fear of facing toxic, unnecessary jealousy.
Valentine’s Day is like a saccharine celebration of what this all-consuming relationship looks like.
We encourage our readers to take the day to really examine the places of love that fuel their lives. Yes, take time to recognize and appreciate your significant other if you have one of course, but also to make the effort to celebrate the love for your platonic relationships as well. Take the day to gift some homemade cards, or even decorated bags filled with chocolate, to your friends. Write a nice note thanking your teacher, or give roses to strangers in the grocery store parking lot.
Why not also take the day to celebrate self love? Watch your favorite movie, romantic or not. Draw yourself a nice bath, and make yourself cupcakes with heart sprinkles. Take a walk with your favorite music playing in your ears, or set aside a few minutes for journaling.
Free yourself of the societal pressure on this day. Forget the expectation to be in a romantic relationship, and the expectation to be unhappy if you aren’t. If you have a significant other perhaps agree to opt out next year and have a homemade Valentine’s Day and blast out of the consumerism.
Lastly we advise our readers to go out on February 15 and beyond and buy yourself some discounted treats from the grocery stores, stuffed in those now-worthless red and pink isles.
In any case, no matter how you are celebrating, Happy Valentine’s Day.