February 14th is looming once more.
Every woman I know is acutely aware of this fact, and let’s be honest ladies, most of us aren’t very happy about it.
Male or female, on Valentine’s day, we pretty much all fall into one of three categories:
Category One – The Single Person
Yes, Valentine’s day sucks when you’re single. You try to ignore it & pretend that it doesn’t bother you that half of society considers you to be some kind of leper worthy of their pity, for one very frustrating day of the year, but it does grate rather doesn’t it? Even for the most secure of singletons, it’s at the very least a mild annoyance you could do without.
All the hype and pressure to have a “perfect Valentine’s day” isn’t great for your self esteem even for the strongest character, and can be downright harmful and cruel to somebody recovering from a difficult breakup or having recently got out of an abusive or toxic relationship.
Category Two – Most people in a Relationship
Valentine’s Day will turn out to be a let down, nowhere near as good as the TV promised it would. Could it be that the adverts lied to us and we fell for it again?!
If you’re a woman, the chances are your partner will either forget completely, or buy something naff or worse inappropriate, and then wonder why you aren’t ready to leap into bed with them and celebrate their gift-buying prowess.
If you’re a man, the run up to Valentine’s day can be a worrying time. Do you get a present for the love in your life who swears she “doesn’t want anything” and risk her wrath if you get the decision wrong? Do you get the expensive perfume and get told off for wasting money, or a nice practical present and get the scathing talk about “how you just don’t understand her”?
Category Three – The “Ideal” Valentine
The Hollywood-style myth shoved down our throats by every TV advert and billboard from mid-January onwards. The sickly-happy, loved up person in a relationship whose “perfect” partner is going to whisk them off to a romantic getaway for the weekend and ply them with dinner, champagne and strawberries, and all that jazz.
Do these Category Three people really exist? I don’t know, perhaps one or two, but I suspect that most of this is for show and the night of “passion” is more likely to involve a poor night’s sleep in a lumpy hotel bed and a very unromantic, snoring partner who is too tired to put up much of an impressive performance after all that food and alcohol.
I hate to be cynical, least of all about a subject like love, but let’s face it. Valentine’s day isn’t really about LOVE is it?
When I tried looking up the origins on St Valentine’s Day on the trusty Internet, the first thing I came across were references to some long-forgotten Catholic Martyrs who share the 14th February as their feast. Nothing romantic there.
It seems that Chaucer was the catalyst for St Valentine’s Day becoming a “romantic” occasion in the middle ages, although there are also suggestions that there was an ancient Greek festival of fertility around 13th-15th February.
Whilst I’m not going to speculate about where the true origins lie, the fact is that St Valentine’s Day has sadly become yet another superficial, vacuous non-event designed to make us spend money, and feel guilty if we don’t. And more fool us for falling for it every year.
I’m just as bad, believe me. I want my Validation er… I mean Valentine’s card this year just like everybody else!
But isn’t that what Valentine’s day is to us? An external validation of our own worth, justified by a card (or cards if you’re lucky) and maybe a present from a lover or admirer that shows to the world, and to ourselves, that we are worthy of love?
The sad thing is that we are all worthy of love, but Valentine’s Day at it’s worst can make you feel like you’re really not.
I vote to replace Valentine’s Day with a new tradition. How about a day that helps to remind us of our true worth, a day that reminds us to love ourselves whoever we are. A day that says that each and every one of us really is worthy of love and happiness.
Lets stop looking outside of ourselves for confirmation that we are lovable, and just accept the truth:
You are perfect just the way you are, and you always have been. You are lovable and yes, you do deserve the best in life.
And if after all that you still want a stupid Valentine’s card, I’ll send you one!