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Valentine’s Day: one of the most beloved and despised holidays. I tend to lean on the side of despising the holiday. Please do not stereotype me as “a miserable single girl who thus hates Valentine’s Day.” That is not it. I avoided the holiday when I was in a relationship, and I dislike it now without being in one.

Do not get me wrong. I love love. I think the concept of Valentine’s Day is beautiful and even honorable. Most of us know the story: St. Valentine married couples in secret when marriage was outlawed. St. Valentine was found out and killed, and so, we have Valentine’s Day to celebrate his life, legacy and sacrifice.

Now, Valentine’s Day is far from sincere. On Valentine’s Day, everyone’s relationships look perfect. Any argument or issue is set aside for this special day. Everything is made to look put together, especially on social media. Couples who are not in a committed dating relationship feel pressured to take that step all because of one day. If someone feels like they need to break up with their significant other, they feel pressured to wait simply because of one day.

Why do we give Valentine’s Day so much power and sway over relationships? Even now, Valentine’s Day is not just a day: It takes up the whole month. Within the whole month of February, big steps in relationships are pressured to revolve around February 14. This is unhealthy.

I appreciate the new concept of Valentine’s Day as being about more than just romantic love. Now, Valentine’s Day is a day to show your love and appreciation for everyone. We’ve even created a separate holiday based off Valentine’s Day, which is “Gal-entine’s Day.” Why there is no “Valen-guys Day” is beyond me. While this is all very noble, and a great way for single people to cope with their singleness on this day, it has all become just too much. Valentine’s Day has evolved into so much more than it was created to be.

Please do not misunderstand me. I am all about sister solidarity and appreciating your friends just as much as a significant other. In fact, I encourage it. But why do we need a special day to celebrate love and show our appreciation for the people who matter to us?

This oh-so-special day of love creates a pressure for couples and singles alike to show their love in very specific, special ways. An extravagant day with things like gifts or fancy dinners is expected. Of course, all things must be either pink or red and be in the shape of a heart. Everywhere you look, businesses will be making things specifically for the day. All foods are made in the shape of a heart: pizzas, cookies, cakes, chocolates. Valentine’s Day has been commercialized to the point of insanity. Suddenly, on this one day, love for another person must be measured on just how special you can make them feel by buying them flowers, candy, teddy bears and other heart-shaped items.

So, how could this be combated? Well for one, we should show love to people who matter to us all the time. These gifts and special plans mean more when they are out of the blue than when they are given on the predictable day of Valentine’s. While we cannot get rid of the day, we can make the most of it.

So, go out there, eat some heart-shaped chocolate and know it will all be over soon. Appreciate your loved ones every day, and show them they are special even without the precedence of Valentine’s Day.

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