What are we really celebrating on Valentine’s Day?

redrose on black rockHow did you spend your Valentine’s Day?

Was it thoroughly romantic? Were you one of the spoilt few that was showered in roses, chocolates and diamonds?

Or, like most of us, were you left with the bitter taste of a not-so-romantic night?

I know I shouldn’t complain. I did get roses & chocolates & a child-free dinner date which is more than a lot of people, single or coupled up. But my lovely romantic Valentine’s Night ended with watching the latest test cricket match with my in-laws. Not quite what I’d hoped for.

It’s the damned hype surrounding the day that gets your hopes up. The movies, the adverts, the publicity about this universal day of romance – it makes you want to feel special, to know that you are special to someone, even if it is just for that day.

But when you don’t get that special moment the disappointment can be crushing, especially if you were half-expecting something. I still remember, year after year hoping to receive a rose at school. And year after year I was disappointed, always the nerd-girl in the corner watching the popular kids receive rose after rose.

These days, since the rise of Facebook and Twitter, it’s much worse. When your newsfeed becomes clogged with the gifts people receive, it can make the loneliness that’s usually hidden in a dim corner of your heart shine brightly. In some ways it’s even worse than Christmas. At least the posts at Christmas are generally well-wishes to others. On Valentine’s Day all it seems to be is people posting their damn roses. The day is no longer about love, but bragging.

It’s easy to get cynical about this day. From movies to roses, dinner to chocolates or even diamonds, we are being conditioned to think love equals money. To believe that unless we are spoilt to the nth degree we are not loved as we deserve.

That’s a lie, though. We don’t need to be spoilt to know that we are loved. That’s not what this day is about.

When you break it down, in essence, Valentine’s Day is about celebrating our humanity. All animals, humans included, must mate to reproduce. But we, as humans, do so much more than perform our biological duty for the continuation of our species.

We love. We hope. We care.

And yes, because we feel so deeply we do also hurt. But I wouldn’t want it any other way.

XX Amanda


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