By Ruby Ellis
Valentine’s Day, supposedly the most romantic day of the year, can also be one of the toughest for some. Its origins are mysterious, as we know very little about St Valentine himself. There are many legends surrounding him, but arguably the most romantic and well known is that Valentine was a priest in third century Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided to outlaw marriage for young men because he thought that single men made better soldiers, Valentine carried on marrying young lovers in secret. He was found out and put to death by Claudius on February 14th.
Fast forward nearly 2000 years and love appears to be all around us. Cards branded with “I love you” aimed at husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, fiancé’s, fiancées, civil partners and any other slightly romantic connection. Heart shaped chocolates, heart shaped pieces of bread, heart shaped bin liners. Every clothes shop from Primark to M&S suddenly becomes an Ann Summers filled with lingerie to wear on the big day. February is a difficult month for people struggling to get by with a broken heart when you can’t even do a food shop without feeling like the world is screaming at you “hey, look at all these people who are in love and want to buy these gifts for their partner! You certainly won’t be receiving any!”
You must remember that it is just another day being exploited for its commercial value. It has no real significant religious or historical background. What is so special about receiving flowers because someone has been pressured to buy them by companies taking advantage of what is supposed to be a day celebrating romance? Surely it is much more thoughtful to be given flowers just because someone picked them up on their way home from work, knowing it would make you smile? Being in a relationship is wonderful, but if this one day out of this whole year in your life isn’t the right time for you to be in one, this doesn’t make you unloveable or unwanted. It just hurts a little bit more than usual. Take the day to look after yourself, eat nice food, do things you enjoy and start learning to love yourself before worrying about other people loving you. Being single, especially if you are newly single, can be really hard and can leave you with little to no confidence. Being able to be happy and content with yourself exactly as you are takes time, but it is endlessly rewarding and important. Be kind to yourself this Valentine’s day.
On a day where you might feel very alone, keep in mind that although romantic love is very special, all other kinds of love are just as valid and should also be celebrated. The love you have for your family and friends is just as important when it comes to your happiness and wellbeing. When you realise that just because you are heartbroken and not in a relationship, that does not mean you are not loved in all other kinds of ways, and you are most certainly not on you own. Love can be shown in all different ways, from a friend asking if you got home safely, a family member checking up on how you’re doing or even your cat curling up on your lap at the end of the day. Use this day as an excuse to tell the other people in your life that you love them, but it is far more important to think of little ways you can show it each day, without some unknown Roman saint telling you that you have to.