For many, Valentine’s Day began with a box of cards from the Dollar Store. Our teachers made us hand out notes to every student, so no one felt left out, and we each had a messy pile of folded squares on our desks by the end of the day.
Throughout middle school and high school, February 14 turned into a celebration of romantic relationships. We saw couples with bouquets of roses and boxes of chocolates kissing in the hallway. Later in the day, Instagram showed off fancy dinners and dates illustrating the celebration of Valentine’s Day and romantic love.
For some people, this was great. However, for others, February 14 became a reminder of what they didn’t—or couldn’t—have. Some people aren’t attracted to the opposite sex. Some people experience desire and attraction differently. Some people are in situations that demand their time and attention, and some people just haven’t found someone yet.
This may have been discouraging for those who choose to treat Valentine’s Day like any other, but others chose to reinterpret its definition and make it more inclusive. Rather than focusing solely on romantic love, for some, February 14 celebrates familial, platonic, and self-love, too, raising the value and recognizing the importance of other relationships in life.
Cynicism is fine—if it works for you. But if you’re someone who dreads the thought of being single on a romantic day, maybe it’s time to reevaluate your definition of it.