Hey guys, this is a guest post from CAMH’s NYAC:
This Valentine’s Day, Soak in the Love – By Finola D’Souza
When it boils down to the basics, Valentine’s Day is a day about love. About celebrating love, embracing love and acknowledging love. But sometimes it’s so easy to forget that. To get bogged down by the dinner reservations, the perfect gift, the expectations and all that pink and red.
So much pink and red… (unless they’re your favourite colours, which in that case – yay! Pink and red!)
What began as a day to acknowledge the love in your life, Valentine’s Day got corrupted by media and retailers. Desperately in need of an occasion to pick up the post-Christmas slump, Valentine’s Day was introduced to the masses as the holiday of February.Come one, come all. Buy some flowers, buy some candy, buy some jewelry. Buy a card to show your significant other that you love them.
If you don’t, is your love real?
If you’re in a relationship, you will get asked the inevitable, ‘what are your plans for Valentine’ Day?’
‘What are you going to do to make it special?’
And what ends up happening, is you get a bunch of people stressed out because they have to make the day of love simply the best. There are too many couples who place unnecessary expectations on this on day and want too much. The fear that if dinner isn’t perfect, if flowers aren’t presented then the relationship has failed. Where one part of the couple wants so much more, and the other panics trying to deliver.
This is where we at NYAC tell you to stop. Take a step back.
Valentine’s Day is just that – a day. A day in 365 other days in a year. If you don’t get to go out for dinner on Valentine’s Day, don’t have the time to cook a spectacular meal, cannot afford to buy a ridiculously expensive necklace – that’s okay. It doesn’t undermine your love for your partner. It doesn’t take away from the other days, the other moments where you’ve expressed your love in even more meaningful ways. Don’t do what the media expects you to do – do what is right for you instead.
In preparation for this Valentine’s Day, talk to your partner about what you expect from each other. Do you want to celebrate it, or are you doing it because you think you have to? If you enjoy the celebrations, then jump on board – the chocolate’s always delicious and it’s a chance for you to do something fun and special. If you don’t want to partake in the Valentine’s Day hoopla, there are options for you too. Instead of making February 14 the day of love, why not pick another day, so you don’t have to face the rush of the malls and restaurants? It might even be more special to you, to arbitrarily celebrate your love on March 14 instead.
In terms of celebrating your love, there are again, so many tokens of expression apart from chocolate, flowers and a fancy meal that can’t fit into your budget. Perhaps you write your partner the qualities you admire on sticky notes and leave them around the house. Or do the dishes instead of leaving it for them. Love is expressed in so many ways. And if you’re that single person who can’t be bothered with Valentine’s Day, that’s OK too. I’ve seen too many movies and TV shows where being single on Valentine’s Day equates to being sad and lonely. Wrong. As long as you’re comfortable with your relationship status, that’s all that really matters. You can choose to celebrate being single with your single friends, or do something that you enjoy by yourself. Or, you could follow my route and just view it as any other ordinary day – and really just do nothing.
Valentine’s Day is not a bad thing. At its core, it celebrates love. Focus on that and not the materialistic aspect. Remove the pressures you’re placing on yourself for this day and let the celebration of love take over. Whether you’re single or in a new relationship or one that’s been going on for a long time –Valentine’s Day is not scary. It doesn’t dictate anything about where you are in your life. But it does give you the opportunity to think about the love that you give, and the love that you receive.
So this Valentine’s Day, if all you do is tell your family that you love them, tell you friends that you love them, tell your significant other that you love them, or tell yourself that you love you – you’ve succeeded. Strip back the day and soak in the love.