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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Chapel Hill chapter.

Who says you need a Valentine to love Valentine’s Day? And who said Valentines even need to be romantic? I say the only thing you really need is a strong love for… well, love.

After all, love is what the holiday is all about! My parents taught me that independence is a positive thing, and it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that you don’t need a partner to find happiness. Sure, I’ve had days when I thought having a partner-in-crime would be nice; I have those days a lot. But, for the time being, I’m hanging in there just fine. Besides, I have a bunch of non-romantic Valentines that make my life just a little sweeter, every day! My best friends, my family and, heck, even my dog! (Actually, especially my dog.)

I’m in love with the idea of romantic love, and don’t get me wrong, it’s something I really want in life. But platonic and familial love are such beautiful things too, and I have to remind myself not to forget about them. One of my favorite traditions, growing up, was my dad giving Valentines to my brother and me. This was something he picked up from my grandpa, who gave Valentines to my dad and my aunt, when they were kids. I always felt special when I got something nice from him on a day for celebrating the people you love most, and I’ve always liked the message it sent me: there are a lot of different ways to love people. I know he loves me every other day too, but the occasional special gesture sticks with me. I’m probably reading way too much into this, but at the very least, it’s a cute tradition, and it was really meaningful to a little girl. It still is.

I’ve heard the argument that Valentine’s Day is all too commercialized, and fair enough. I personally enjoy the knick-knacks and decorations, but what can I say? I’m just a really festive gal! And, for the record, nobody is forcing you to buy into all of that. Just spending time with someone and letting them know you care is the perfect gift (although, I wouldn’t argue against chocolate, if someone offered it to me).

I’ve also heard the argument that you shouldn’t reserve expressions of love for one day out of the year. And I couldn’t agree more! However, I don’t think anyone is actually planning on spurning their lover/friend/family member the other 364 days of the year. I like to think of Valentine’s Day as a reason to do something extra special! The majority of people can’t afford going out and giving gifts year-round, so there might as well be a designated day for it. You know, for budgeting purposes.

Lastly, many people buy into the assumption that you can’t be alone on Valentine’s Day, or else it’s going to be a sad, lonely event. And to that I say, “Heck no!” If there’s anyone you should love and want to spend time with, to treat and spoil and smother with gifts, to pamper and shower with positivity, it’s you! Valentine’s Day can be just as much fun, if not more fun, without a Valentine, Galentine or anyone else! Just think about it; you’re going to be with yourself for quite some time (forever, actually, unless I’m unaware of some supernatural forces at play), so you might as well try to get along with yourself. Plus, there’s no debate about where to eat and no worrying about what to give as a gift because you know yourself better than anyone else!

No matter who your love goes to, express it. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Emily Stellman

Chapel Hill '21

Emily is an aspiring author that studies English and Comparative Literature at UNC. She is also minoring in History and hopes to one day become a lawyer or work in a museum. Her interests include music, doting on her pets and all things Disney!