Opinion | Appreciate all types of love this Valentine’s Day

valentine's day

Sierra DeWalt, sophomore English and screenwriting major

Singles all over the world dread Valentine’s Day. To many, the holiday seems to point out that they do not have an official significant other. But why is this considered a negative? Does our happiness depend on whether we have a romantic relationship?

Every year, I eagerly anticipate Valentine’s Day. I consider it a day full of opportunities. The holiday is a perfect excuse to gorge on chocolate and sweets, watch as many sappy romantic comedy movies as I want and admire the onscreen couples while yelling my thoughts at the TV screen. My cat might be annoyed, but no one else can judge me – this is how I choose to spend the holiday.

Even if I hated sugar and was disgusted by romance movies, I would be excited for Valentine’s Day. Holidays are linked to celebration and relaxation, and how could anyone pass those up?

For this reason, despite being single every year, I have always struggled to understand why people hate not being in a relationship on Valentine’s Day. Starting in 2017, the U.S. has seen record numbers adults who are single, according to the U.S. Census. So why can’t we strive to enjoy our alone time?

Valentine’s Day is an appreciation of love, and love comes in dozens of forms. You may love your pets, parents, siblings, friends, job, life or even just yourself. There’s no rule about only appreciating romantic love on Valentine’s Day.

The holiday could be so much more enjoyable if we chose to celebrate the love that is most meaningful to us. Whatever type of love brings you the most joy deserves to be acknowledged on a day meant for showing affection.

Family and friends are often who we treasure most. We learn and grow from friends and family on a regular basis, and they impact our lives in major ways.

So why don’t people usually give thanks for these kinds of love?

Well, this conundrum makes more sense when you enter a department store or a drugstore. The aisles are packed with candy, stuffed animals, cards and jewelry to give to “a special someone.” Even clothing sections are often infused with the same spirit. All around you, Valentine’s Day seems to be about choosing just one person to love, cherish and spend your time with.

Look beyond the commercialism of the holiday. Stop staring at pictures of seemingly perfect couples online. Every relationship has problems. Every relationship has ups and downs.

Valentine’s Day gives you the chance to tell someone you love them – romantically or otherwise. Maybe you’ll brighten your mom’s day. Maybe you’ll take your sibling completely off-guard. Maybe you’ll just cuddle your pet a little tighter than usual.

Whatever the case may be, there is love in everyone’s life and this love deserves to be celebrated. If you’re not big on celebrating, simple acts of self-care or kindness towards others can still improve your day. Why not buy yourself those shoes you’ve been wanting? Why not help that stranger pick up what he or she just dropped?

Sure, Valentine’s Day is about love, but it’s also about being caring. It can be relieving and momentous to show others you care. Focusing on what you appreciate in life can make any day seem a little bit more beautiful.

And while you’re at it, why not eat some chocolate and a cookie or two?