Valentine’s Day is celebrated all over the world on the 14th of February. Traditionally, it’s a designated day to show affection through purchases of flowers, boxes of chocolate, cards, jewelry, etc.
Along with the ‘buying a gift’ expectation that the media has commercialized over the years, the “holiday” has also been deemed as a day for couples to celebrate their romantic relationships.
By reinventing the norm and thinking about those who are not recognized, we can all enjoy a proper Valentine’s Day that welcomes kindness, inclusivity and all different kinds of love.
Valentine’s Day Myths
“Single people can’t celebrate Valentine’s Day.”
It’s important to remember that being unattached to someone on Valentine’s Day, or any other day of the year, does not dictate your worth as a person.
With the pandemic being a huge contributor of loneliness and isolation, a lot of Canadians are feeling the effects of less social and physical interactions with family members, peers and romantic partners.
Social wellness is a key component of overall wellness and in time, if not fulfilled, will negatively affect your emotional and mental health.
Although social interaction is good for everyone, it doesn’t mean it has to happen constantly.
This Valentine’s Day, take the time to truly be with your body, your spirit, and your mind.
Embrace and practice self-love with:
- Treating your body with your absolute favourite foods without self-judgement
- Getting off social media and silencing the comparisons in your head
- Pausing for a moment of self-reflection
- Getting in tune with your body
- Forgiving yourself
You might be surprised what different aspects of yourself you might discover.
If you are feeling low and are in need of someone to talk to, please connect with one of our peer support workers at 403-297-1402 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Valentine’s Day is for couples-only.”
People tend to gatekeep Valentine’s Day to a “couples-only” holiday while amping up hypersexual and romantic expectations.
A big reason why some do not engage in Valentine’s Day is because they do not feel advocated for. This could potentially make certain people feel discredited about how they feel about themselves and/or how they identify.
Valentine’s Day sometimes ignores the beauty of several types of love including:
- Platonic relationships/friendships
- Family relationships
- Non-gender conforming relationships/friendships
- Non-binary relationships/friendships
- 2SLGBTQ+ relationships/friendships
- Self-loving relationships
Cherish these relationships for what they are, and not what others have defined them to be.
“Spending money is how you show love and affection.”
Giving gifts is a universal action that expresses appreciation from one person to the other however, to some people, receiving gifts is one of their primary love languages. This means that this person feels most loved when they receive a tangible gift. It could be a piece of jewelry or a homemade card, this type of person appreciates and treasures the gifts given to them no matter how big or small.
Other types of love languages include words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service and physical touch.
Instead of immediately going to your wallet to buy something for someone, consider what they would like instead.
Identifying Love Languages
Engaging with someone’s love language boosts their self-esteem and cultivates a culture of happiness. Just by making the effort, you will reap the benefits of positivity as well.
Words of Affirmation
This person is ecstatic after receiving compliments and unexpected praise. They are overjoyed hearing their peers and loved ones saying how much they care about them and what a good job they are doing. Hearing words of kindness can improve emotional well-being and reduce stress levels.
What To Do: Express how you feel for them through a handwritten letter, a song, a poem, an intimate conversation, a riddle, etc.
This person feels joy when they are spending time with or around their loved ones. Having someone’s undivided attention is something they truly appreciate.
What To Do: With the pandemic continuing to dictate where we can and cannot be physically, it is best to have quality time over the phone or through a video communication service like Zoom, WhatsApp or FaceTime. Limit multitasking and focus on what they are saying.
If you’re living with someone or a group of people who enjoy quality time, make a plan to avoid cellphones for the day and get into a fun activity like playing a board game or be creative and try something new.
Acts of Service
The phrase, “Actions speak louder than words” resonates with this person. They feel love when simple acts that could be work-orientated or at home are fulfilled. Acts of service can range from refilling a gas tank, emptying the dishwasher, cooking a meal or getting the kids ready for bed.
What To Do: Ask the person what you can do to make their life a little bit easier or surprise them by getting some of their daily tasks done before they get a chance to do it. Being selfless and focusing on their workload will fill them up with immense joy and appreciation.
Some people just want to be embraced after a long workday. This person feels safe, anchored, and seen when they are touched by a loved one.
What To Do: During this difficult time, parts of the world are living in a reality where physical distancing is a mandate. Try your best to support and openly communicate with this person(s) through virtual supports. Since they enjoy movement, have a Zoom dance party with their favourite songs or coordinate a synchronized yoga session.
“Valentine’s Day is only for younger people.”
Although it’s more familiar for children and youth to participate in Valentine’s Day activities with friends and classmates, that should not neglect other generations from doing so well.
Your age, demographic, gender identity or financial status should not be a consideration when it comes to celebrating a day that encourages kindness to all.
Everyone has some kind of unique, consensual love to give and that love does not have to be defined or gatekept.
Let’s be more open-minded and kind this Valentine’s Day and think about those whose loved ones are distant, or no longer with us.
Our Peer Support program services can be accessed over the phone at 403-297-1402 or through email at email@example.com. Counselling programs for Suicide Bereavement and Family Support are also still available through phone at 403-297-1708, email firstname.lastname@example.org or online through Community Connect YYC.