A Valentine's Day PSA

Updated: Feb 16

I used to hate Valentine’s Day.

Like, really hate it.

I shied away from the topic, ignoring all of the candied hearts and glitz. I scoffed at the videoed rose petal proposals, shiny pink and red balloons, and relationship Insta-highlights. The rom-com movie marathon mayhem was inescapable, filtering my head with a variety of fairytale-like romantic endings that I resented.

For me, the day symbolized a painful reminder of a string of failed talking stages, the potential what-ifs, and unrequited commitments smothered in hopeless romantic agony.

I went from receiving a candy gram from every student in class to rarely receiving an acknowledgment as I grew older.

And for others too, Valentine’s Day can mean the same thing. It can be viewed as a day dedicated to loneliness and unworthiness. The holiday can embody the absence of a specific kind of love that no amount of self-love quotes or mantras can replace in someone’s life. It also wills the power to resuscitate agonizing memories of lost connections and defunct relationships.

A mental epidemic, Valentine’s Day, according to health experts, has the highest suicide rate amongst other holidays. Studies report individuals experiencing intenser feelings of depression, anxiety, and hopelessness around this time.

And like many, my feelings toward Valentine’s Day sprouted behind the socially-imprinted belief of the holiday only being reserved for those in romantic relationships. It further implicates the social-interconnective hierarchy of romantic relationships being the highest esteemed form of all relationships and having a romantic partner should always foster a sense of ‘completeness.’

The cultural obsession with romantic love is structured to bring singles feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt. As depicted in Western media, the ongoing preoccupation with finding ‘The One’ or our romantic ‘soulmate’ inhabits the balancing of ALL relationships. This harmful notion can systemically ostracize social groups of people, such as people who identify as asexual or aromantic, or those who just currently have the desire to be single.

The Westernized obsession with romance also possesses the capability to gaslight individuals who openly want to experience a romantic relationship through ‘toxic’ positivity. Again, no amount of self-love can truly be enough to fill the void of wanting to experience life with a partner.

We’re relational creatures.

It’s like a double-edged sword.

But why should it be perceived this way?

Valentine’s Day should celebrate all forms of love. Every relationship we experience holds a unique amount of importance, cardinal to our individual identities. Every relationship we hold dear is influential to who we are as a people.

Buy your best friend flowers. Ask your cousin their love language. Write your favorite professor a heartfelt letter of appreciation. Treat your father to a spa day. Try out a new cooking recipe with your partner. Take yourself out to dinner.

Everyone and everybody deserves to feel loved and be celebrated.

Image via Britannica.com