It’s the most romantic time of the year. Every coffee shop, restaurant, and school hallway is decked out with flowers and heart cut-outs. You cannot take two steps in public without seeing an advertisement for a Valentine’s edition necklace or some strappy undergarment you’d rather not know anything about.
Here is my issue: I am a strong promoter of love-all kinds, whether it be platonic or romantic. As the sappy individual I am, I believe that human connection is among the most important things of this universe. With that being said, the ridiculous expectations that come along with Valentine’s Day make me cringe. Here’s why:
Love is a connection, a conscious effort, and choice to be there for someone, no matter how difficult it becomes. Chocolate, expensive jewelry, flowers, and cheesy stuffed animals do not have anything to do with this. And frankly, receiving these stereotypical gifts on a day when it is expected wouldn’t make me feel special, and isn’t that what Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about?
When I was in high school, during Valentine’s Day I would hear girls talking about the gifts they hoped to receive from boyfriends, friends, and whatnot. They would post photos on social media about the rings and countless other pieces of material goods that are supposed to represent our love for those important to us. These desires are unrealistic, as most high schoolers, college kids, and young people in general do not have the money to purchase excessive gifts anyway.
More importantly, a material good does not represent the intimate relationships we have with our friends, family, and romantic partners. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy receiving flowers as much as the next girl, but I cherish the nonmaterial things such as time spent together so much more than store-bought gifts. Time spent with those you care about cannot be purchased.
Even to children, Valentine’s Day is catered to be some sort of wildly important holiday (important enough to get class time shortened to have a valentine exchange and a class party). I am not saying this is necessarily a problem, but I do think that the true point of Valentine’s Day is hidden by the heart-shaped candies and chocolate. Instead of promoting the purchase of more material goods, I believe Valentine’s Day should be about celebrating the healthy and nourishing relationships you have with those close to you. Flowers, chocolate, and a stuffed bear are not required gifts to give someone if you care for them. Instead, give support, kindness, and the promise to be dependable.
Valentine’s Day isn’t about seeing who can buy their loved one the best gift, it’s about celebrating the vulnerability of human connection and what it truly means to love.