I don’t know about you, but the month of February can feel like a 28 (or 29) day reminder about the way our culture idealizes love. Around this time, whether you’re single or in a relationship, many people, even those not usually preoccupied by romance, find themselves evaluating their love life in excruciating detail and hoping a bouquet of flowers arrives at their door.
From those that are single, I hear reports of increased loneliness, coupled by a heightened desire to have someone special by Valentine’s Day. From those in relationships, I hear about the pressure of the impending holiday, coupled with a re-examination of the dynamics and quality of the person (or people) they are spending their time with, as well as an over-analysis of whatever does (or doesn’t) happen on Valentine’s Day. Regardless of relationship status, it seems that this hyperfocus on love brings up a lot of not so loving feelings about oneself and others (which could explain why breakups around Valentine’s Day are incredibly common).
In my opinion, Valentine’s Day is in dire need of a makeover.
Between social media and reality television, there is already ample opportunity to compare and contrast, to analyze and judge. What people really need is a day dedicated to self love, gratitude and appreciation. On the new Valentine’s Day, you’d buy a thoughtful card, chocolate, or gift for yourself. You’d write yourself a meaningful message about how much you appreciate the gifts you possess and the way you show up in the world every day, recognizing the hardships you’ve overcome and the inner strength you possess. You’d take yourself to your favorite restaurant for dinner or cook your favorite meal, plan a full day that is unapologetically you. You’d surround yourself with your favorite people and things, sleep in, engage in your favorite activities, and volunteer for a cause you care about. This Valentine’s Day wouldn’t include preoccupation with others, but instead a sole focus on the most important relationship in your life- the relationship you have with yourself.
If this sounds appealing in the slightest (even a teensy bit), try it. This year, instead of focusing outward, take a trip inward. Pause for a few quiet moments to acknowledge yourself and do something nice to celebrate who you are. Tell those around you that you are dedicating the day to celebrate you and pause the self analysis or negative judgment. And if this feels like too much, start small: go buy the damn flowers for yourself- you deserve them!