The month of February, at least for most of the world, signals the traditional celebration of Valentine’s Day, which comes with a connotation for romantic love. Specifically celebrated on 14 February, it is during this day when the scarlet colour is seemingly all over—signifying one’s strong affection to another person—often in the form of red roses or heart-shaped figures. Inevitably, Valentine’s Day is every romantic couple’s time of the year and is what sets it especially apart from others.
You have probably heard of many heart-warming and exciting stories that were developed during Valentine’s Day. Tales such as bonds growing deeper and stronger than ever before, marriage proposals that get accepted, and loving partners having to spend each other’s company in pure romantic bliss. All of these are clearly what tradition tells us about the once-a-year event that is V-day. But must it be strictly about an amorous affection towards a love partner or love interest? How about others who, while seemingly unknown to us, also deserve some form of love?
Well, it can—if only we are willing to redefine Valentine’s Day, even if only for this year. So, what should the Feast of Saint Valentine be if not to exult all the loving partners all over the globe?
There is no greater force in this world there is than love. Why? Simply for the reason that there is no other element in this world that’s far more capable of touching people’s hearts than it. Even bitter enemies can become the closest of friends or even brothers, purely because there is genuine love in the picture. Imagine the changes we can push to the world if we would only use the full force of love as the overarching theme of Saint Valentine’s Day, instead of just one form of it. I reckon it would shake the world in a very positive way.
This year, how about we shift Valentine’s Day as a time of showing greater affection to a crush, boyfriend/girlfriend, or a spouse to a love of family, like our siblings, parents, and extended families. Imagine how lovely our homes would be on that fateful day of the year and one that is likely to persist and reach many more years—even perpetually with our limited existence.
Or how about showing authentic care and concern to others who may have been suffering, even if we did not notice? Just imagine how a simple display of genuine altruism to our fellow people could lift those who have been burdened by life and by which they have no means of escape, forcing them to endure in pain and anguish. Knowing the pandemic that we are all subject to, the numbers of those people are probably too many and even growing. In a place like the Philippines alone, there is already a community of sufferers, in light also of another tragedy—the typhoon Odette—that struck a particular region in the county, thus, compounding to the difficulty posed by COVID-19.
And, of course, there is ourselves—yes, us! Ever heard of a line in a song that describes self-love as the greatest love of all? Not to a point of obsession, of course, but there is definite truth to the claim, even if some of us fail to recognise it. But why not? If we do not love ourselves, who else can do it for us? It is one thing to be pitied and be shown concern, or better yet, loved, but we cannot always expect the same thing from others when they are expected to do the same for themselves. Love must always start with ourselves before we could give it to others.
It is easy for us to romanticise Valentine’s Day because of the tradition that’s been ingrained in us. But it is neither impossible nor too late to change that notion into something more practical and worthy of everyone’s attention—because, this time, it is all about universal love.