why I celebrate ALL love [not just my boo] on Valentine's Day
Whether you like it or not, it's coming.
(haha, I said "coming" 😜)
While I have absolutely zero actual science backing me up here, I will purely anecdotally claim that Valentine's Day stirs up more polarizing feelings than any other widely celebrated holiday.
On one hand, you have folks that soak up the bullshit (did I say that?) expectations and performance desire on celebrating in the socially presumed way: flowers, candy, candles, cards, romantic dinners, champagne (BUT I LOVE CHAMPS ANYWAYS!), etc.
On the other hand, you've got the Valentine cynics. The folks who boycott the "Hallmark holiday" and rant about how it's just a way for capitalism to rear it's ugly head and get the peeps to spend spend spend. After all, you shouldn't need a holiday to demonstrate your love to your love, right?
(I laugh at how the cynics often become Valentine celebrators when they're in a romantic relationship. It's like, contextual cynicism! Which is totally and completely valid because, alas, it changes the experience for us!)
Personally, I've always felt like I've lived somewhere in the "in-between."
Valentine's Day has long been a favorite holiday of mine. Being surrounded by reminders of love creates a more consistent warm and fuzzy feeling in my insides leading up to February. But, as a self-proclaimed "forever single girl at heart," I would be lying if I said I didn't feel the sting of singlehood as the holiday approached. And maybe I even threw myself into the holiday to try convince myself that it didn't hurt as much. A little distraction. Woof. Hashtag vulnerability, here.
And while most of the assumption around Valentine's Day focuses on romantical love, we can probs all recognize that other forms of love exist. Right? And gosh dang it that love is amazing. Powerful. Transformative. We all have relationships in our life that do SO MUCH for us. Friends who pick us up (or at least try to!) when we are down. Family who support us when we need it. Colleagues who appreciate our work and passion and dedication to our work. Mentors who invest their valuable time and energy into helping us grow and develop.
So, if you've got some icky feels happening as Val's Day approaches, I've got some ideas on how to help turn that frown upside down. Be forewarned! They're a little cheesy. But hell, you know I don't care, because if they make you feel good, then bring it!
- Literally write out a list of people who love you - not just romantically, but companionately, fatuously, etc. (read this if you need some inspo on what non-romantic love might look and feel like). I guarantee when you see that list, you will feel incredibly lucky and loved.
- Write out a list of people who YOU love! And consider doing something during this "holiday season" to let them know! Maybe it's just sending your grandma a text (does Grandma text? maybe sending her a letter is a better idea). Buy your bestie a little something so they know you're thinking about them. Give a colleague a recommendation on LinkedIn. Send your mentor an out-of-the-blue thank you card.
- I'm a big fan of sending out a shit ton of old-school 2nd grade valentines. Also, sending out more cards was one of my relationship resolutions for this year, so I've def gotta get on that.
- Take an inventory of the past year or so (or even the past few months if the whole year feels too daunting!), and reflect on the times or moments when you felt REALLY loved. Maybe you received some recognition or accolades for your work? Your bae did something special for you? Your friends gathered for your birthday celebrations?
Moral of this story, if we broaden our understanding of Valentine's Day as "just a couples holiday," it opens us up to have more to celebrate! It allows us to feel more included in the holiday even if we're not part of a couple, and also gives us the opportunity to see how freaking vast our circle of love is! There's a lot of love out there - let's celebrate it all!