I am not here to ruffles feathers; but feathers may be ruffled. I am not here to make enemies; but I have just renewed my life insurance policy just in case. What I am here to do is to tell the truth – and sometimes the truth hurts.
I did some research about St. Valentine, Valentine’s Day, and anything related to its history. The truth is that no one knows for sure who that person was (there are several claims to the origin of the name) and what he did. Rumors – sure. Facts – none. But that doesn’t matter. My plan wasn’t to discuss how this whole thing got started. My plan was to discuss why it is so messed up and causes pain nowadays.
The modern tradition of the “holiday” is to give love to one’s sweetheart. The first thing I noticed about that is that people who don’t have a sweetheart feel bad about themselves. And that is just plain wrong. We all have people who love us; so why should we be made to feel bad if we do not happen to be in a relationship? We shouldn’t – but we do. Our hearts break; and to stop this we look to latch onto someone, anyone, just to avoid the stigma of being alone. Just thinking that someone might feel loveless makes me cry. You are NOT loveless!
Next comes the guilt. And, if I were to point a finger, I would aim it directly at advertisers. Face it, no matter what anyone will ever tell you, the goal of advertisers is to sell things – and they don’t care how they do it. Advertisers are clever people with degrees in psychology who can adeptly manipulate words and images to evoke emotions in us that motivate us to action: and that action is spending our money to buy their stuff.
Although there are many slants to Valentine’s Day advertising, the dominant one seems to be centered around this thought: ladies you are entitled to some major gifts on Valentine’s Day, so your gentleman better fork them over or else he doesn’t love you; and gentlemen you are not a real man unless you do so.
This is complete nonsense. Think about what it says. First of all, it’s focus is on getting rather than doing, material rather than feelings, and objects rather than love. This is not how we should define love. Please don’t get me wrong: it’s wonderful for BOTH men and women to receive a nice gift now and then, but that is not the true way to show love. Love is what we DO.
It is so easy for someone to behave badly all year long and then try to make up for it one day a year by buying an expensive gift to show how much they love someone. Is that what we really want? Or do we want a loyal and affectionate lover 365 days a year, someone who will hold us and comfort us when we are low, someone who will tell us we are okay when we fail, someone who respects us every day, and tells us that they love us every day – not just one day a year by giving us a sparkly rock or boxes filled with sugar.
Which would you choose if you could only have one? Would you choose the expensive gift once a year? Or would you forego the gift in favor of a person who showed their love every single day? Valentine’s Day does not come in a package, it is found in the heart.
All I want for Valentine’s Day is love.