Valentine’s Day: Why Self-Love Should Triumph Over Romance This Year

Call me a pessimist (or single), but Valentine’s Day is almost laughable. A commercialized day personified by a fat flying baby in a diaper who shoots arrows at unsuspecting victims is the antithesis of what I consider romantic. 

Nonetheless, according to Forbes Magazine, love birds still spent around $23.9 billion last year on this holiday in the United States alone, with similar projected figures this Valentine’s season. But what is Feb. 14, besides a day to lighten wallets and purses?

Valentine’s Day has been an acclaimed “day of romance” since the 14th century but dates back to the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia in February. The pagan festival celebrated the coming of spring and included fertility rituals and lottery matchmaking. Romantic, I guess…

But today, Valentine’s Day is a capitalist venture equating money with love. Some people feel pressured into finding someone to share the holiday with. If not, insecurities and self-judgments about singledom seem to emphasize the “hopelessness” in hopeless romantics.

But even if you are one of the millions who receive a bouquet of flowers or a box of chocolates, you may agree that for a day with big romantic talk, it certainly lacks the walk. 

Who are we trying to impress with giant teddy bears, distasteful jewelry, and sickeningly sweet candy hearts with equally repulsive sayings like “date me?” For the love of Saint Valentine!

Our expectations are just too high thanks to Hollywood films like “The Notebook,” “Dirty Dancing,” and “The Princess Bride,” which look at love through rose-tinted lenses. But let’s face the hard truth: no one is going to sing Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” from the bleachers like Heath Ledger in “10 Things I Hate About You.” 

So how should we celebrate Valentine’s Day thoughtfully but pragmatically? For one, recognizing that true romantic gestures involve time over money. 

“Valentine’s Day is heavily commercialized. Buying the flowers, buying the chocolates, buying the gifts, is a nice gesture, but it can also be spending time together and doing something you both enjoy,” senior Hanna Alsakir said.

You could also cook your loved one’s favorite meal, create a custom music playlist for them, write a heartfelt letter, or have a movie night. I promise the best Valentine’s gift won’t be found in a CVS aisle.

Additionally, Valentine’s Day can be extended to all your close relationships, not just romantic ones. Celebrate friends, family, and teachers as well by showing you think of them. 

“It’s always nice to go out with friends and get something to eat and maybe do an activity,” Alsakir said. “Since [Valentine’s Day] is in the wintertime, ice-skating is always a really fun thing to do or watching a movie, which is indoors.

Rockville’s Echoes Literary Magazine Valentine’s Rose sale this year also reflects the spectrum of love to be celebrated.

“We’re selling roses as a traditional Valentine’s thing, but we’re offering different colors because, as an English teacher, I love symbolism, and different colored roses symbolize different things,” English teacher and Echoes Sponsor Dana Sato said. 

Echoes will be selling yellow roses for friendship, pink roses for gratitude, and red roses for romantic love. If you are interested in celebrating Valentine’s Day for your loved ones in the RHS community and supporting the club, consider buying Echoes’ roses for your partners, friends, and teachers this Valentine’s season.

Further, Feb. 13 marks the International Day of Self-Love. And there’s a reason why self-love day comes before Valentine’s Day. You can’t share healthy love until you learn to love yourself. Self-Love Day strengthens the feeling of comfort in your own skin and focuses on one of the most important relationships: the one with yourself. 

“To me, self-love means doing things that I enjoy like self-care, maybe do a facemask, get my nails done, things like that,” Alsakir said.

With the stresses of everyday life, time dedicated to self-love empowers us and betters our mental health. So everyone, whether you are in a relationship or not, should take time for themselves as a token of self-love.

I’m no love guru, in fact, I’m quite far from that. But I certainly don’t think you need a significant other to celebrate Valentine’s Day, and you shouldn’t need a specific day to profess your love for someone. We should celebrate all types of love, including that to ourselves, on the other 364 days of the year.