Love yourself this Valentine’s Day season


Mark Schfer/STXfilms/IMDB

Amy Schumer admiring herself in the the controversial 2018 film “I Feel Pretty.”

Darius Melton, Opinion Editor

There’s no denying that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the spirit of love, but many people get discouraged around the February holiday because they’re not in a romantic relationship. It’s important to remember that the act of giving love is not just for couples, even if the movies playing on TV for the next few weeks seem to indicate that it is.

Websites and magazines such as Cosmopolitan may place so much importance on the holiday that they will write articles detailing game plans for being single on Feb. 14 on New Year’s Eve, but at the end of the day, it is just a day.

The word of said day is “amatonormativity,” a term coined by Arizona State philosopher Elizabeth Burke to describe the phenomena where people assume that being in an amorous relationship is the norm. The pressure of conforming is a big part of where Valentine’s Day gets its power, but it’s also easy to identify and address, if not handle.

First, it’s important to realize that being alone on Valentine’s Day isn’t the end of the world. If you were okay being single on the 13th, then it shouldn’t be much different on the 14th or 15th. Love works on its own time, and if anything, rushing into a relationship causes more issues than letting life play out does.

Second, your love doesn’t have to be romantic. There are other people and things worth loving in this world, and whether you’re single or not, here are a few things you can do this Valentine’s Day that don’t involve a significant other:

Love your family. Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve called your mother.  Maybe it’s been a while since you last hugged your father. Maybe you can’t even remember the last time you told one of your siblings that you love them.

Even if you and your family have none of those problems, you could still make their day by showing your affection in one way or another. Maybe you could pay for your parents’ date night, buy your siblings flowers, or sit down and write your grandparents a card (which, if they’re anything like mine, they’ll appreciate more than something store-bought).

Love your friends. While you’re born into your family, you get to choose the friends you have, and the fact that you continue to run with your crowd in particular is something to celebrate. Oftentimes, these are the people that you spend the most time with, and it’s sweet to take a second and smile about it.

One thing that I’m personally big on is showing more brotherly love. Not everyone is comfortable with it, but sometimes it’s nice to tell your male friends that you love him. People are still surprised when I tell them that I once drove across town just to hug one of my best friends because he was having a bad day, but it meant a lot to him and I know it would’ve meant a lot to me if the roles were reversed.

Finally, love yourself. Sometimes it’s nice to be like the people who stare at themselves in the mirror for an hour in the morning. Go ahead and flex those muscles and make kissy faces at yourself. You could even write yourself a love poem if you’re in the right mood!

I can personally relate to anyone who spends a lot of time talking down about themselves, and though it could just be your own sense of self-deprecating humor, it’s also nice to say something nice about yourself aloud. Nobody’s perfect, but nobody’s a total wreck, either, so even if it takes you a while, keep digging until you find that part of yourself where you finally realize, “Hey, that’s actually pretty awesome.  Go, me!”

But, as important as appreciating yourself is, it’s also a great time to start working on yourself. While you’re figuring out the things you love about yourself, maybe think about the things about yourself that you don’t like but can also tackle soon.

It can be anything from getting a massage because your neck is always sore to finally seeking a therapist because you need someone to talk to. Don’t just care about yourself – take care of yourself.

Happy Valentine’s Day, folks. Be kind to each other.