Whether you like to acknowledge this day as Valentine’s Day, Galentine’s Day, Single’s Awareness Day, or see it as just another Hallmark Holiday meant to take all of your coins and not let you be great…I would like to spread some love and wish you a very Happy Valentine’s Day! If I can keep it 100% honest, I’ve always had an odd relationship with this holiday, because for me, first and foremost, it is my mother’s birthday…Happy Birthday Mom! While this may sound cute in theory, I’ve struggled to figure out what this day really means to ME, parental birthday’s aside.
When I really think about it, as a child, I loved Valentine’s Day. I would always make the most beautiful Valentine’s Day mailbox out of a shoebox, pass out my Lisa Frank Valentine’s Day cards, and eat as many Valentine’s Day heart pops as my stomach could handle.However, Valentine’s Day started to change as I matured, as a result of expectations. The worst part is that they weren’t even my own expectations per se, but society’s expectations…apparently on Valentine’s Day, despite your love language, romantic gestures…mostly manifested in gifts, are supposed to take place if you have an admirer, love interest, relationship, life partner, etc. If you do not have any of these thing, then game over and feel free to try again next year! Clearly I’m being dramatic, but you get the gist.
My relationship with Valentine’s Day strengthened in college, when I received a heartfelt Valentine’s Day card from a close girlfriend of mine as a simple token of her appreciation of our friendship, which offered a new perspective about the holiday for me! I realized that Valentine’s Day could serve as a day to simply express my gratitude for the people that I really valued in my life. I also found joy in using it the day to offer a positive greeting other than your quintessential ‘Good Morning’ or ‘Hello’!To be honest, I managed to maintain positive sentiments towards the holiday until a few strange interactions with love interests in the past that resulted in Drake ‘Jaded’ feelings. I will spare the details, but the most important lesson that I learned is that not everyone is mentally in a place to recognize or receive love. Taking it a step further, if someone is not in a place to recognize or receive love, then how can they appreciate the love that anyone has to give? Survey says *Steve Harvey voice*…they can’t, plain and simple!
This brings me back to my original question, what does Valentine’s Day mean to me? I’ve decided that I would like it to remain a day that I show my gratitude for those that I appreciate in my life, but starting this year I am going to take it one step further show myself some love. The truth is that you can’t pour from an empty cup, and practicing self-love especially on this day will only increase my ability to spread love to others. That said, Happy Valentine’s Day. Use this day to do something sweet for yourself!
Hannah Schweiss Photography