Alaa Essafi/ Contributing Writer
The truth is, Valentine’s Day, for the most part, is a painful and scary day. Not scary in the traditional sense, but with it comes a series of thought-provoking life questions. Why am I single every year? Why am I eating my weight in various chocolates? Am I destined to be a lonely cat lady forever? Fear not, along with this myriad of queries comes the emergence of several prominent types of coping mechanisms for Valentine’s Day.
Firstly, are those who use the day to post extensive Instagram stories on self-worth and self-love. On the opposite end of that spectrum, there’s the cynical friend who claims Valentine’s Day is a capitalistic ploy meant to feed endless consumerism disguised as a celebration of love. There’s the quirky friend group who exchange Valentines for “Galentine’s” and have a girls night with a cheese platter, that surely all ten of them will post in order to garner social media envy. Lastly, how could we forget the people who are actually in relationships, and spend the night at a steakhouse?
Perhaps the most aggravating aspect of Valentine’s Day is the toxic, unmet expectations that come with it. The expectation that if you don’t get your significant other an overpriced Edible Arrangement, they’ll be in a sour mood for the rest of the day. The act of looking forward to an unreasonable romantic gesture that may or may not come is a recipe for disaster.
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be miserable, but it will if we get caught up in the idea that it isn’t just an ordinary day. It will definitely not live up to expectations if we use societal or romanticized versions of love as a metric for our relationships.
For those of us who aren’t in relationships, Valentine’s Day isn’t and shouldn’t be the one day a year when we evaluate how well we’ve done love-wise in the past year. It also shouldn’t be the day where we bow our heads in embarrassment because we promised ourselves we would have someone to be with on the 14th.
We’ve been indoctrinated to believe our value is reflective of who or the amount of people that love us. However, with the increase of self-love campaigns, people are finally learning to exchange years of self-neglect for a self-love that revolves around the realization that we can be complete and happy without a partner.
Self-love isn’t something so superficial that you can turn it on or off. It takes time and work to even see a shred of results. Regardless of whatever situation you may find yourself in this Valentine’s Day, if you find yourself unhappy with the situation, change it. Easier said than done, but it can’t hurt to try.
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a dreaded day, regardless of if you’re in a relationship or not. It could serve as a stepping stone for all of us to get rid of expectations that do nothing but harm us. It’s a time for us to truly gain some self-love.