A lot of people think Valentine’s Day sucks.
There are the tired criticisms about how it’s really just part of some sinister plot hatched by Hallmark and flower companies to get us men to spend money on cards, flowers, and chocolate.
There are videos espousing the many reasons why Valentine’s Day, supposedly, sucks.
There is even a Facebook page called “Valetine’s Day sucks” that has 10,703 likes.
You, reading this right now, may very well agree. You may hate Valentine’s Day. You may consider it gratuitous or – if you’re among the conspiracists alluded to above – nefarious even.
Well I am here to tell all the Valentine’s Day haters that you’re wrong.
Love Deserves a Holiday
This is a great holiday. In fact, as I’ve gotten older, it’s become one of my favorites. And the reason why I like Valentine’s Day is pretty simple, which makes sense because the idea behind Valentine’s Day is pretty simple.
It’s a day reserved for showing people that you love and care about that you love and care about that.
And what, exactly, is wrong with that?
Immediately, this will be met with the following rebuttal: but you shouldn’t need a specific day to show people you care about them; you should it every day!
Fine. Point granted. I agree.
But life moves fast. None of us are perfect. Sometimes we forget. What is so wrong with setting aside a day where the expectation is that we’ll all make time to express love and care for the special people in our lives?
We have Thanksgiving, a day on which we make time to be thankful and enjoy good food and merriment with family.
We have July 4th, a day on which we make time to be thankful for our nation’s independence and liberty it provides each of us.
We have Veteran’s Day, a day on which we make time to appreciate the men and women who protect that liberty.
It sure seems to me like love – the most essential and wonderful of all emotions – deserves a day on which we make time to express it.
And that’s all Valentine’s Day is.
If you allow yourself to get bogged down in the “hassle” of buying flowers, or making dinner reservations, or taking ten minutes to write out a thoughtful card, you’re thinking about it the wrong way.
These are not wastes of time or money. They are ways to put actions behind words.
Talk is cheap. Anyone can tell you they love you or care about you. But what do they do?
As men, it’s our responsibility to make the women we’re responsible for feeling loved…feel loved. Saying it is a great start. Doing something to show it is what really matters. That’s why the “silly” stuff like cards, flowers, candy, and making plans are important. They make the words mean something.
And ladies, Valentine’s Day shouldn’t simply be a day to sit back like the Queen of Everything and revel in selfishly in proclamations of love. (That’s what your birthday week is for.) You are expected to express your feelings all the same, and put a little action behind yourself. A card, making sure to show appreciation for the efforts made, even little things like being ready on time.
It’s give and take. A two way street. Love is, and thus so should be the rituals of Valetine’s Day.
An Opportunity, Not an Obligation
Ultimately it shouldn’t feel like an obligation. It’s an opportunity to do something special for someone special. That should be exciting.
It’s one day out of 365 when that inspiring, earth-moving, life-centering emotion of love is front and center. That’s awesome.
And it need not be just about romantic love. Which is why even single folks, or people who have dealt with heartbreak, perhaps even recently, need not lament Valentine’s Day. Just refocus the attention.
Focus on the the love for a parent. The love for a sibling. The love for a friend.
Do you know someone having a rough go of it? Tomorrow is a great opportunity to reach out and do something to make them smile. That’s an act of love. And it fits perfectly within what this day is supposed to be about.
Heck, I’m sure I’ll wish my pup Rebel a happy Valentine’s Day when I wake up tomorrow. Why not? Since when has showing someone that you have positive feelings for them ever been a negative?
Granted, I didn’t always think this way. But I find myself appreciating opportunities like tomorrow more and more. It probably has something to do with becoming more cognizant of showing gratitude and appreciation, as well as recognizing my own mortality.
None of us ever know when our last breath will come. It could come tomorrow. It could come in 80 years. Who knows? If yours came tomorrow, would the people special to you know it?
Take every opportunity you get to show it.
The Gift That Gives Twice
There is never a wrong time to make someone feel special by showing them how special they are to you. It will make them feel good, and it should make you feel good too. It’s the gift that gives twice, and it often only requires a small, but thoughtful, gesture.
Valentine’s Day should certainly not be the only day we do this. But the beauty of Valentine’s Day is that it makes us think about it, makes us remember; maybe it even breaks the ice if you’re one who has trouble showing emotions. You have to Valentine’s Day, right? Is that a bad thing if the subtle pressure of the day breaks you out of a comfort zone?
Because most of all, Valentine’s Day compels us to do something. And hopefully whatever you do has genuine feeling behind it and isn’t just out of a desire to avoid “trouble” or guilt.
Challenge yourself to better than that. You are.
If you’re feeling at all cynical about Valentine’s Day, try simplifying your thoughts by getting to the day’s essence: expressing love to someone else. And then actually do it.
You’ll make someone else’s day, and you might just make your own too.
And that’s what tomorrow is all about. It should be one of the best days of everyone’s year.
Happy Valentine’s Day friends.
Feel the love.