Valentine’s Day is coming up next Wednesday, and every year the holiday is met with mixed emotions. 

Some look forward to the holiday, excited to spend time with their significant others and give and receive meaningful, heartfelt gifts. 

Others dread it, seeing it as a reminder that they don’t have someone special in their lives to whom they can show their appreciation and love, and be shown appreciation and love in return. 

Others still see it as a chore, a commercial holiday where they are forced to buy their partner an expensive gift, the lack of which might result in anger or hurt feelings. 

Valentine’s becomes a way for both local stores and larger, commercial corporations to guilt consumers into spending more. 

As I write this I ask myself, how did this holiday become so exclusive? How were we as a population tricked into thinking of this holiday as a chore? A burden? A reminder that not everyone has someone to love?

Why do so many people let those details dictate how they celebrate the day? 

Valentine’s Day, as are many other holidays that we celebrate, is what we make of it. 

You may be one of those people who look forward to the holiday, ready to show your loved ones that you care. If you are one of those, celebrate the holiday with gusto. 

Don’t let other people’s opinions of Valentine’s Day dictate how you should feel. You should never feel guilty for the way that you decide to show your love and appreciation. 

If you are one of those who dread the holiday, consider spending it with friends, family or classmates who you are fond of. Go out, stay in, reap the benefits of half-price Valentine’s candy after the day is done. Have a good time making the holiday your own, bringing new traditions to the table. 

Just because you don’t have a partner to celebrate the day with right now doesn’t mean you won’t in the future. 

Keep spreading love and appreciation to all people in your life who you care for, who may be in your same situation. 

Sometimes, being reminded that someone cares about you is the only gift that matters. 

Finally, if you are one who dreads the pressure of having to buy a gift for your partner, or who simply can’t afford a gift...

Don’t. 

You are not obligated to do anything this holiday. 

Show your love in other ways, make an agreement with your partner to celebrate any way you want. Better yet, agree to show your love and appreciation year-round. 

You have the power as an individual to make what you will of Valentine’s Day. Go out and celebrate love of all kinds this holiday, and remember that social norms or societal pressures should not dictate how you choose to do so. 

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