Inquiring Minds: Chocolates, flowers and who’s really important on Valentine’s Day

So what’s the true meaning of Valentine’s Day, anyway?

Most people seem to think Feb. 14 is a day focused on nothing but romantic love and the flowers, chocolates and special dates that go along with it.

This attitude sends the message that if you are not in a relationship, Valentine’s Day is not for you.

This can be a damaging message. Although for some, it’s of no consequence that they are single, and they don’t mind seeing carefree couples celebrate the holiday, it can be a dark day full of contempt, pain and loneliness for others.

People are really hurt by the idea that they are not significant on this day if they are not in a romantic relationship.

Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be like that.

Valentine’s Day should go beyond just romantic love. In fact, we’ve all known a time when it did. Remember when it used to be about friendship? In elementary school, the guys had their Michael Jordan valentines and the girls brought their Disney Princess cards and gave them to everybody.

In our younger years, valentines could be given to old friends, new friends, parents and grandparents. It was a way to tell everyone you loved how much they meant to you.

Why, then, does the romantic relationship become the only kind of love worth celebrating when we are older? Why do we have to be limited to the romantic roots of the holiday?

If we depended solely on romantic love to get us through the rest of the year, we wouldn’t survive. We need the love of friends and family as much as we desire and even need the romantic kind of love.

We ought to give that kind of everyday love a much more significant place alongside romantic love. Valentine’s Day is a perfect opportunity to honor those who love you. Call your grandmother whom you haven’t seen in a while. Send a card to your cousin. Visit your old roommate just to say hi.

This is not to say that the romantic element of Valentine’s Day is a bad thing. It can in fact be a very healthy and special part of an intimate relationship. The point is that it should not have a day to itself, because it is not the only important kind of love.

Valentine’s Day should not make romance the sole focus for the day. It should not be a day that makes peope feel miserable or alone. It should, instead, be a day when everyone feels loved and appreciated because we are spending it focusing on all our loved ones, not just our significant other.

Inquiring Minds is the collective opinion of the editorial staff and not necessarily representative of the entire staff. It is written by the managing editor and the editor-in-chief.

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