Artwork by @prcrstln
It’s unclear how this whole Valentine’s Day thing got started.
According to some, the holiday was named after the patron saint, St. Valentine. Not much is really known about the origins of Valentine’s Day.
We do know that, at one point in history, February was regarded as the month of romance, and that St. Valentine (whoever he was) was most likely a martyr who died going against orders to outlaw marriage for young soldiers in third century Rome.
Kinda romantic, right?
Some argue that the date of Valentine’s Day – February 14th – is our best guess at the actual date of death of St. Valentine.
In other words, we’re commemorating a guy who literally died for love.
What started as an act of defiance turned into gestures of affection and handwritten notes by the mid 18th century, and now Valentine’s Day means showering our loved ones in chocolate, flowers, and candy wrapped in foil.
Artwork by @prcrstln
We do it every year.
We buy into the commercialized idea that showing extra love and affection to our supposed loved ones are gestures of how much we actually care about them.
We go out of our way to buy cupcakes and candies with “Will you be my Valentine?” engraved on the top, and don’t think twice about doing it.
But when you do think about it, Valentine’s Day is a great way to momentarily forget about the problems of a relationship.
It’s a giant sweep under the rug for a lot of couples who would rather gleefully look forward to a single day in February than acknowledge the hard work that goes into making their relationship last.
And it’s usually a last-ditch effort to buy anything red that smells good. It’s also a consumerist’s dream.
But perhaps one of the real reasons why Valentine’s Day is such a big deal is because it’s an escape for those who have trouble loving themselves enough to love others the other 364 days of the year.
It’s a feel good moment (or day) when we can forget about putting in the work on ourselves and pretend to cater to others. We often don’t think about how we can improve our relationships (with others and with ourselves) the days after.
But imagine if we were able to really express love, gratitude, affection, and care all throughout the year? Single or not, operating from a place of genuine love for self and one another brings about peace of mind, mental clarity, and emotional maturity.
Our ability to treat the ones around us with respect and love is a reflection of the respect and love with which we treat ourselves. When we do this, we’re allowing our cup to run over without forgetting that what’s in our cup is first for us, and that whatever spills over is for others.
This Valentine’s Day, I challenge you to start finding the love within yourself day in and day out.