Valentine’s Day has always been marketed as a holiday for couples, with few exceptions to include friends. That’s why every image of Valentine’s Day that comes to people’s minds is nearly identical: chocolates, flowers, sex, stuffed animals, balloons, cheesy movies. With all of this imagery being thrown at us, how can we escape it and not fall into what popular culture tells us Valentine’s Day is? This is where the key difference between romance and love comes in. Valentine’s Day leaves behind depictions of love and is mostly marketed as a holiday for romance.
Romance is usually associated with feelings of excitement that are a result of a particular experience. For example, romance would be someone taking their significant other out on a date to a place they loved. Meanwhile, love is a feeling and emotion that is shared between people. There are many types of love, be it romantic or sexual, parental, between friends, for your pets, etc. During holidays like Valentine’s Day, people tend to value one more than the other and it is almost exclusively always romantic/sexual love over any other type.
This is not to say that there is anything wrong with wanting to do something special for your significant other, but don’t just buy into what the bigger forces tell you that you have to do for a day like this. By bigger forces I mean what is marketed as expressions of love and the love we should celebrate. Love is not just what is shown in popular culture through films, advertisements, television shows, etc. It’s something deeper than that and it’s not always perfect. There will be great moments, but there will also be difficult times that will test the bond you have built with those you love.
This is my advice: use this day to not just celebrate your significant other, use it to celebrate the people around you who love and care for you. Those who have been there for you through all those good and bad times and who have shown you that they will always have your back; whether it’s a friend, a family member, or even a pet. This advice seems contradictory, especially considering that Valentine’s Day is just another day invented so that people buy stuff. However, you don’t have to celebrate it if you don’t want to, but if you do then appreciate everyone around you that you love, not just your significant other (s).