Have You Been Doing Valentine’s Day Wrong?
A girl walks into her local drug store on February 13th.
It’s a f***king zoo.
Boys, and men, and gawky teens are milling about the greeting card aisles, trying to find the perfect Hallmark sentiment to relay their convoluted feelings to expecting girlfriends. In the next aisle over, all the single ladies are busy pre-scouting the special occasion chocolates for the half price goods they plan on picking up post-holiday.
While cut and dodging her way through the aisles, brushing shoulders with strangers who can’t find a card for the special someone they’re “in like” with, the girl can’t help but wonder if maybe we’re all doing this whole Valentine’s Day thing wrong?
The girl thinks that maybe, just maybe, there’s more to this so-called day of love than over-priced flowers and sing-songy cards generically written to convey an emotion that is often times complicated.
The girl is me.
It’s no secret that I have long been a sucker for Valentine’s Day. Between the colour blocking of pink and red, the flowers, the love letters, and cinnamon hearts, it is one of my most anticipated days of the year.
And while it hasn’t always been candy hearts and roses for me — like, there was that one time I was stood up, and that other time I was dumped just a few days before — no matter my romantic relationship status, February 14th has somehow always been a day filled with love and I think perhaps there is something to be said for that.
Remember in elementary school when V-Day was an ordeal (in the best way)? It was all about picking out the perfect cards for classmates and begging parents to bake cupcakes with bright red icing, and toting home a backpack full of colorful love-filled letters from your BFF's, frenemies, teachers, and cootie-carrying boys alike.
Back then, Valentine’s Day was fun, and easy, and came without all the expectations, apprehensions, and innuendos. Back then, Valentine’s day was simply a celebration of coexisting humans. It was a day of recognition, respect, admiration, friendship, and at the very least, acknowledgment (it would have been rude to leave a classmate out in the card-giving department, regardless of whether you were friendly or not).
Reflecting on this, I'm reminded that love is multifaceted. It's not straightforward or "clean," and rarely is it ever simple. However, no matter the status, label, or standings, love — in its many different facets — deserves to be celebrated, recognized, and at the very least, acknowledged.
So while I’m not suggesting you send a love letter to your ex, or that bish who commented on your new BF’s latest Instagram, I am suggesting you take a step back from the Hallmark aisle, put down the chocolate, and consider a more fulfilling way to spend your February 14th.
Instead of mourning over love lost, attending a sad single’s mixer, or devoting all of your attention to a single object of desire, why not spread the love this Valentine’s Day and celebrate the sentiment in a more deliberate, honest, and meaningful way? Beyond romance, it’s important to recognize that our lives are full of love — from that self-loving good stuff to the deep bonds of family, from the complicated and messy to the deep and meaningful, from the fiery and passionate to the ties that bind best friendships.
Love is love is love. And the more we honor it, the more it comes back to us.
(At least I hope that’s how it works.)
Are You Doing Valentine’s Day Wrong?
Switch it up this February 14th! Here are 5 new ways to celebrate the many different facets of love in your life.
1. Self Love is (Always) The Best Love
Cliches become cliches for a reason — so please bear with me as I remind you that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Whether you’re single and ready to mingle, or happily coupled this V-Day, don’t forget to show yourself some love, first.
Buy yourself flowers.
Treat yourself to chocolate.
Join Love Bomb Bootcamp.
The options are endless.
2. Send a Love Text to Your BFF
Even though you probably already talk to this person every day, chances are, it’s been a minute since you last put into words just how much they mean to you. Grab your phone right now (I’m serious) and send a love text to your BFF to let them know you care [insert all the heart emojis you can muster].
Lost for words? Copy and paste the message below:
Hey BFF! Have I mentioned lately that I heart you? Thanks for being my forever GALentine — life is so much sweeter with you in it. xx
3. Phone Your Mom (Dad, Siblings, or Better Yet...All Of The Above!)
If once upon a time my father managed to hire a mini mariachi band to surprise me at my high school and serenade me in front of my classmates on V-day, then the least we can all do is reciprocate that kind of blind familial love with a phone call.
Sometimes, we forget to tell the people closest to us, just how much we care, how much they mean, and how grateful we are to have them in our lives.
4. Get in Touch With a Long Lost Friend
You know that friend you have been meaning to reach out to for ages now, but just...haven't? The one whose Instagram photos you always double-tap but haven't actually seen IRL, in years? The one whose name always comes up in conversation because of all the memories you shared?
You should get in touch with them. If only to say, “Hello, I’m thinking of you and hope you are well.”
It might mean more than you think.
5. Tip Your Local Barista
My barista probably doesn’t know it, but I love her ... a lot.
I love when I walk into my coffee shop and she already knows my order. I love that she greets me with a smile, and doesn’t judge my extra-tired, no makeup face on Mondays. I love when she delivers me a glass of water to my table after noticing I’ve ordered two coffees but haven’t properly hydrated with H2O. And I love the way she always leave room in my to-go cup, because she knows I fill it with almond milk at home.
Spread the love this V-Day and let those unsuspecting familiar faces know you care and appreciate them.
Tip your local barista.
Thank your daily bus driver.
Compliment your colleague.
Your turn. How will you be spreading the love this Valentine's Day?