Friday, February 14, 2014

What Valentine's Day Really Should Mean

There's been a lot of anti-Valentine's Day hate showing up on my social media feed lately. It makes me sad because I feel like these people are missing the point of what Valentine's Day should be.

Growing up, Valentine's Day wasn't just about a guy or girl you liked. It was a celebration of love as a whole- whether it was family love, friendship love, or romantic love. My father would come home with some flowers for my mom and a little extra gift for me and my sister. Sometimes, it was a cute teddy bear holding a heart, sometimes it was our own smaller version of flowers. In school, we made those Valentine "mailboxes" and had to give out cards to everyone. I never minded doing that, even with those I found "icky" or "full of cooties" because in the end, everyone deserves some love.

Of course, some would argue that we should show our love every day of the year, not just on February 14th. I agree. I do just that to the best of my abilities. I even will make gestures more special than others for no reason but because of love, not because it's a holiday. However, we do lead busy lives. We do become wrapped up in other things like work, errands, duties, and all those stuff that we'd probably drop at first chance to go do what we actually want. So sometimes, a holiday like this can be a blessing. It's a ritual, a society-wide reminder to stop and smell the roses, to turn to the people in your lives and say, "I love you," and to make lasting impressions.

It is not, however, a holiday where you're supposed to drop big bucks on diamonds and dinners and douchebags. That's where we go wrong. Valentine's Day is most definitely not about grand gestures done for show or to guilt people into displays of love. Go ahead and have a special dinner, but go somewhere that's meaningful for you, not just expensive, or better yet, make something at home. Something that you don't typically make like risotto or roast beef (I know, a vegetarian suggesting this but I'm appealing to everyone here.) Do little things you enjoy together, spend time with each other. 

And show your love for everyone. Your friends, family, coworkers, the stranger on the street. It's why we had to give cards to everyone in elementary school. Everyone deserves some love. Maybe Valentine's Day is a bit overrated with all the media and marketing, but if you ignore all that and just focus on the people in your lives, then it suddenly becomes a very special, meaningful date.

So Happy Valentine's Day to everyone, from the bottom of my heart. Pass that love along. Do one little thing for someone who might not expect it. And please, hate shouldn't be an emotion we feel… ever.

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