Written by: Lauren Steeves
Despite the fact that roses, Hallmark cards and overpriced dinner menus are trying to claim their stake in the holiday, we need to fight to give Valentine’s Day a new meaning.
The “Hallmark” holiday that everyone loves to hate or hate to love is finally upon us. Those of us in long-term relationships are struggling to make the day extra special and meet our partner’s expectations. Those of us in new relationships are challenged as to how to celebrate the intimate holiday. And those singletons of the world are cursing the day, hoping it ends quicker and less painfully than a Brazilian wax.
As each year passes by and we all get a little bit wiser, I can’t help but notice the sentiment of the holiday shifting from a day of positivity to a day of dread and negativity. But despite the fact that roses, Hallmark cards and overpriced dinner menus are trying to claim their stake in the holiday, we need to fight to give Valentine’s Day a new meaning and begin to see the holiday from a different perspective and a much younger lens.
In kindergarten, we are taught three valuable lessons about Valentine’s Day that we could all use a refresher in. For starters, everyone in the class gives a valentine to each other. It’s not about being someone’s one and only, being the most attractive person or the class’ Regina George. Instead it’s about inclusion. It’s about bringing everyone together. And most importantly, it’s about spreading love to absolutely everyone in the room – regardless of whether you like them, you resemble them, or you find them attractive.
The second lesson is that the holiday is about all different types of love. While we don’t comprehend ourselves what romantic love feels like at that point in our lives, we do understand that love is all around us. Love isn’t just reserved for romantic relationships, rather love is found through our friendships, through our classmates, through our mentors and through our families. It’s not about the person that sets our hearts on fire, but rather the people that make our hearts and lives full.
The third lesson is that the holiday is about kindness. It’s not about diamond rings and red lace lingerie, as many of us would believe now. Rather, it’s about the simple act of being kind to one another. It’s about brightening someone’s day through the simple gesture of words and candy. No frills.
Now when we take those very lessons that we were taught in kindergarten and apply them our lives today, we realize very quickly how important this day can truly be.
Rather than stressing out about the fact that you aren’t in a relationship or getting disappointed in the fact that you didn’t get that expensive gift you were eyeing up, take the day to be inclusive, loving and kind to everyone.
Call your family, whomever that may be, and tell them how much you appreciate them.
Write your friend a letter thanking him or her for getting you through the heartbreaks, the tough times and the drunken nights when you woke up surprised you were even alive.
Email your co-worker, your mentor or your boss saying what his or her support has meant to your growth, how his or her leadership has shifted your perspective and how you value the times that he or she pitched in and helped you out.
Take the extra few seconds or minutes and be kind to your neighbour. Open the door for the mom or dad who’s struggling with his or her stroller and parcels. Actually thank the barista who is giving you life in the form of coffee every damn morning. Smile at the person on the bus. Let the person signalling to get in your lane in. Give someone a genuine compliment.
Show your partner you care in a heartfelt way. Write it out or say the things you’re always thinking about them but never actually get said. Connect and speak from the heart, discussing how their love has had an impact on you and just how good it feels to spend your days with them.
And lastly, replace any negative self-talk today with self-love. Remind yourself just how beautiful, talented, intelligent and worthy you are. Be proud of who you are and what you overcame to get here.
I can tell you right now, that’s the kind of shit that matters.
Instead of letting a holiday divide us between singletons and people who are in relationships, or naysayers and Valentine’s Day worshippers, let’s let the holiday unite us in the desire to be inclusive, kind and loving people.
Look around and take the time to listen to what the world is screaming it needs.
It’s love – sweet love.