Valentine’s Day is right around the corner reminding us of love, connection, and relationships. It is nice to believe that this holiday induces feelings of love in people around the nation. However, the mention of Valentine’s Day causes some emotions that are not always loving. It can trigger feelings of love and elation, but also anxiety, sadness, or resentment. For young children, this day is simply the passing of cards to other children and the enjoyment of chocolate hearts and sugary treats, but somehow the anticipation of treats becomes more complicated when we reach adulthood. The enjoyment of Valentine’s Day seems to be influenced by whether or not we are in a good relationship at the time, and if so, how well can our partner demonstrate love. I specify good relationship because just being in a relationship is not a qualifier for a good Valentine’s Day.
There are certain beliefs and expectations that individuals have created around Valentine’s Day. Somehow, we have been made to believe that this day is about being in loving relationships and exchanging cards and gifts that express our love. For those in relationships, expectations have also been placed on loved ones to somehow show or prove their love on this day. Is it the object that is the expression of love or the act that someone went out of their way to express their love? Last Valentine’s Day, the stores were flooded that morning with anxious loved ones attempting to buy last minute gifts. I am not sure how much proof of love this demonstrates.
Valentine’s Day has become a holiday that forces actions to avoid reactions by our loved ones. February 14th has somehow become the day to “Show me the love!” There is nothing wrong with the expression of love, which should occur all year long. The problem stems from the expectation of love. Expectations almost always lead to disappointment. There will be those who are disappointed that they do not have anyone to share Valentine’s Day with. There will be those that are disappointed that they have someone to share the holiday with, but would rather not. There will be those who are disappointed that their loved ones did not put enough effort into the holiday. Being disappointed can lead to feelings of sadness, resentment or even anger.
It is important to see Valentine’s Day for what it is. It is a holiday with an ambiguous history that exists to remind us to love. When we drop our expectations of what Valentine’s Day should be, we make room for what it could be. It could be a day for us to show ourselves love and be love to others through our actions. Let’s drop our expectations and follow the lead of young children by sending notes to our friends and loved ones and by enjoying a wonderful sugary treat.