In less than a week, it will be Valentine’s Day. Tis the season for roses, chocolates, stuffed animals, wine, champagne, poetry, candles, bubble baths, dinner reservations and selfie-happy social couples… Blah.
I’m not a fan of romance. At least, not the prescribed consumer-based type of materialism that’s pushed this time of year. I’m a campfire-over-candlelight type of girl, but I wasn’t always.
As a child, I bought into the hype of Valentine’s Day. I longed for the day when some handsome prince would give me a heart-shaped box of milk chocolate truffles. Beyond that, I forget the details of the fantasy, but the idea was that I wanted to be loved.
As a teenager, I was often part of a couple on February 14, and I was happy to receive some of the gifts my younger self had craved. But one year I found myself irritated with my boyfriend because his sweet gesture of affection didn’t compare with the giant teddy bears and flower deliveries bestowed upon some of the other girls at school.
That was the first time I questioned my feelings and expectations related to a relationship. Thankfully I recognized the difference between love and presents. I adjusted my standards and moved on.
Then came the year when I was alone on Valentine’s Day. When I thought about the day, I felt left out and lonely. That year, my friends and I staged a mini-rebellion as we dressed in black and went out to dinner as a group. We proved to ourselves that we could have fun, even if we went home alone.
Looking back now, I can see that my struggles with Valentine’s Day were rooted in my own lack of self-love. If I’d loved myself as a child, I wouldn’t have needed the Fantasy Prince and his delectable truffles. If I’d loved myself as a teenager I wouldn’t have judged my relationship based on the comparison of gifts between couples. And if I’d loved myself as a single person, I wouldn’t have felt the holiday looming ahead. I wouldn’t have wanted to rebel… I wouldn’t have cared at all.
These days I feel pretty indifferent about Valentine’s Day. I’ve learned that gifts don’t denote the depth of affection, and my worth isn’t tied to my relationship status. I’ve also learned to notice how these types of triggers can lead to critical self-discovery.
If you’re dreading February 14, ask yourself why. Spend some time with your feelings, reflect on your past and assess your current needs. Do you need a little more self-love in your life? Is it time you buy yourself a heart-shaped box of choclates?