Be Authentic For V-Day

The spirit of distrust in our society dictates that every act of kindness comes with ulterior motives or strings attached. But why do we need an excuse to show affection or a special day to display love physically and materially?

Don’t get us wrong — we’re not trying to impose the obligation to treat your loved one to a nice dinner every single night. But the validity of such a celebrated “holiday” as Valentine’s Day should be questioned when these displays of affection become the only means of communication in a relationship or when it fosters the mindset that ribbon-finished bears and the “love is in the air” spirit can reconcile all problems as a default, or when it splits the entire world into two parties – those who are single and those who have a significant other – bringing flashes of the first Tuesday after the first Monday in the month of November. Valentine’s Day should never be the reason — for those who are single, it should not be the reason for being depressed and resentful; for those in a relationship, it should not be the reason for showing love or compensating for unspoken instabilities within a couple.

The whole idea of Valentine’s Day has been so scrutinized on one side and hyped up on the other that feelings across the whole spectrum have become over-dramatic and hyper-emphasized. Today, more so than the already unnecessary pressure to give into Valentine’s Day consumerism, the media around this enterprise creates the pressure to go into uncharted creative territory by going beyond the instant-buy box of chocolates and giving something homemade and home-cooked because, apparently, it means more. This mindset reduces     the “it’s the thought that counts” aspect behind every card and box of chocolates purchased. But if the well-being of our relationships relies on such silly technicalities, then the shallowness of our day dangerously challenges the supposed meaninglessness of any off-the-shelf Hallmark card.

On the other side, if Feb. 14 provokes the hostility of Single’s Awareness Day – ice cream pints in hand and ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend item-burning – then the cruel expectations that society has for people to be in relationships in order to be happy are twisted as well. This day should not make those who are single feel like they are missing an essential component to their happiness.

Valentine’s Day should not be viewed as a day mocking those who are not currently in a relationship, nor should the strength of a relationship be measured by how extensive the day’s festivities go.

There’s nothing wrong with not celebrating Valentine’s Day. After all, there are 364 other days in the year where spontaneity will overpower and outscore the expectations of Feb. 14.

For those who are in a relationship and wish to go all out on Valentine’s Day, may it be a celebration of a love that already exists, and not one that forcefully arises because of the influence that Hallmark and consumerism have on our society. On the other hand, Valentine’s Day should not be a celebration limited to those who are in a relationship. After all, for those who are single, there is no rule that states platonic love cannot be celebrated on the 14th of the month.

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