I’ve never liked Valentine’s Day. I’m not sure James and I have ever spent one actually doing “Valentine’s Day things”. One year we went with my cousin Naomi to see Die Hard, another time everyone came round for a Chinese, and a few years ago James went and had a dog-sitting-sleepover with Nathan and Piero while Emily and I watched Pretty Woman and drank bubbles – that was a great one.
Part of the reason I’m not a fan of this day filled with romance and glitter is because, for us, the present-giving season begins in October for James’ birthday, and when you have Christmas, my birthday and our anniversary in quick succession you don’t really fancy thinking up another present idea. Besides, shouldn’t you encourage date nights and random just-because-I-was-thinking-of-you presents throughout the year – and not because a card company told you to be particularly in love today?
But there are people who LOVE Valentine’s Day. Some people want nothing more than a bunch of roses and a teddy bear holding a heart that says “I wuv you”. I don’t have a problem with that (I mean, it’s gross, but whatever floats your boat). The problem is that some of these people love Valentine’s Day, but don’t happen to be in a relationship on the 14th of February. Or they have a partner who isn’t into it. Or their relationship is on really rocky ground, and Valentine’s Day has become a strawberry-centred reminder that things aren’t as wonderful as they used to be. That’s the problem with Valentine’s Day; it makes you starkly aware – for better or worse – exactly what your relationship status is.
So let’s change that. Let’s fix it. Let’s take the hold that Valentine’s Day has over your heart and wield the power of love for good. Here are five things you can do this week to make sure everyone experiences the love:
- Pick a friend, any friend: Do you know someone for whom Valentine’s Day is going to be particularly tough this year? Be their Valentine. Pick them up with a card, a pressie, a friend date or just go round for tea and don’t mention it at all.
- Take the loveliness challenge: Why don’t you give yourself a little task on the 14th of February to be lovely to everyone you interact with? Whether you’re on the bus, chatting to your colleagues or pottering around the shops, recognise that another human being is in your presence and – at the very least – offer them a smile.
- Become a Kindness Ninja: As someone who loves a lot of people but feels a bit weird about showing it, this is my favourite thing. Go and buy a big bunch of flowers, or a multi-pack of yummy chocolates, or anything that you can get a large number of, and deliver one each to every doorstep in your neighbourhood. You can choose random doorsteps or people you know, but the aim is to get in, drop the pressie and get out before anyone knows it was you. Like a ninja.
- Tell them how you feel: As I just mentioned, I don’t like being nice to people (and I’ve even written a whole blog on it.) But use this day of love as an excuse to tell people exactly what you think of them – in a good way. Scroll through your contacts and text your friends and family something you like about them. It might be just what they need to brighten their day.
- Give a little more: Is there a cause that’s close to your heart or a charity you keep meaning to support but you never get round to it? Why not love the people who need it most and get involved this Valentine’s Day? Pray, give, petition, volunteer or go buy a homeless person a cup of tea. Maybe this could be the start of something really good for you and other people.
So whether you’re struck by cupid’s arrow this February 14th or, like me, you have literally no plans, don’t get bogged down in the Valentine’s lie that 1+1=love. Take back Valentine’s Day from smug couples and greedy corporations and use this perfect opportunity to show people – all people – that they are loved.
Written by Chloe Satchell-Cobbett, Deputy Editor, Liberti