Valentine’s Day is here again! While some can’t wait to share this day with their special someone, others roll their eyes at even the sight of the date. By no means is this article meant to shame the coupled or the single, but rather to shed some light on what it means to love, because isn’t that what Valentine’s Day is all about? The world already seems too divided to take such a strong stance on a single day that is said to be about love.
I would like to think that most of us remember a time when we would make our way to the store and buy group Valentine’s grams for our entire elementary school class. We would make little mailboxes and everyone would distribute a small note to one another— you might even dig through the notes to find the perfect one to give to your crush and hope they could pick up on your “subtle” message. Then, as we got older, something seemed to shift. Valentine’s Day seemed to lead us to a fork in the road: it’s either a day that you hate because you feel alone or a day that you love because you have someone special to spend it with.
While these are not the only two emotions towards Valentine’s Day, they are the most exploited and commercialized. Stores are stocked after Christmas with Valentine’s Day chocolate and stuffed animals while magazines flourish on writing articles about spending Valentine’s Day alone. Yet, I would like to suggest an alternative to these.
On Feb. of 2011, the hit NBC show Parks and Recreation released an episode called “Galentine’s Day.” In the episode, Leslie Knope brings her closest girlfriends together for a luncheon to show her appreciation and love for them. This led to a new trend to spend the evening before Valentine’s Day with your close friends. I think most would agree and be on board with the idea that we should celebrate our friends as much as our significant other.
Yet, I don’t find myself satisfied with only that. Valentine’s Day should be about love, love for your lover, your friends, your family, your classmates, professors, store clerks, strangers, animals, the Earth and yourself. In everything that you do, you should be doing it with love and compassion— because we need it.
So, with Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, I would like to encourage not only you all, but myself as well, to spread love. Use this day to tell those around you that you appreciate all they do. Tell yourself that you are worthy of love. Treat the Earth and its inhabitants well. And as Valentine’s Day comes to a close, think about making every day a day of love.
Photo contributed by Redlands Bulldog photographer, Miracle Cariaga.