A day I’ve loved to hate.
A day I’ve loved to love.
It’s just a day.
There were the tortured years. Years I weighed my value on the scale of this Love-Day. This day that loved to remind me I was unlovable.
Very few places can rub your nose in the single-with-no-significant-other mud like the dirty, gray hallways of high school.
Every. where. you. look. Balloons and stuffed bears. Candy hearts and pink roses. Declarations of love at every other locker.
I hated every moment.
Right or wrong, as a teen, Valentine’s Day only served to remind me I was insignificant, invisible, and alone. And while none of those were actually true of me—I felt they were.
Even now, after decades of having my own Valentine, the 14th of February always comes with emotions that conflict and feelings that confuse.
There are so many lovely parts of this day for hearts. It’s a day that reminds us to cherish one another. There are also candlelit dinners and whispered words of passion. Not to mention love notes and chocolate and exquisite bouquets.
What’s not to love?
Forgotten women. Teenagers with lonesome eyes. Overlooked children. Broken hearts. Unmet expectations. Feelings of worthlessness.
See what I mean?
Here’s the thing. Boycotting this day isn’t the answer. We should celebrate each other—our romances and our friendships.
I could be cliché and mention that the celebration should be all year long, but then I will also mention we’re human and apt to have days of grouchiness and lamentation.
Or maybe that’s just me.
I don’t hate Valentine’s Day. I just hate the way it plays with our emotions—especially as women. We have a deep desire to feel beautiful, to be noticed.
But a day can’t define our worth, whether we have a lover or not.
That’s the lie I often allow my heart to hear.
When the truth is, only the Love borne through arms stretched across splintered wood can make me know, really know, I am worth more than rubies.
A day can’t tell me my soul was purchased by a heavenly King.
But the self-doubt struggle still exists. And February 14th only seems to point out my cracks with pin-point accuracy.
I remember my first V-day with Prince Charming. He, no-joke, earned extra cash by helping deliver arrangements for a florist during the peak season.
I lived in a sorority house where I watched bouquets of roses arrive all day, my sisters ooo’ing and ahh’ing over each one. Every time the doorbell rang, my heart skipped a beat. I hoped beyond hope my favorite delivery boy would arrive.
I waited all day.
And I may or may not have gotten a bit angry.
Where were my flowers?
When they finally arrived? I wasn’t disappointed. It was like a scene from a movie. I soaked in the squeals and giggles as I walked those gorgeous pale pink roses up the stairs.
Sweet Lord, I was in heaven.
I felt loved. I felt cherished. I felt valued. I felt important. I. I. I.
And there it is. The struggle of this day has always been because, well, I make it about…wait for it…
What if this day torments and frustrates because I tend to focus on what I get out of it? What if, instead, I use Valentine’s Day to focus on loving well?
Tomorrow is just another day. A day I can practice loving those inside my circle and out.
A note or two for colleagues. Candy for my students. Gifts for my Prince with no expectations in return. Coffee for a stranger. Words of encouragement.
Acts of kindness.
Changing how I see Valentine’s Day requires I pour my heart into others.
It doesn’t mean moments of loneliness won’t lurk and sadness won’t creep. It does mean, dear sisters, that we can fight back against the dark. We fight with the way we love.
So love deeply—not just tomorrow, but every day.
Because you are worthy. You are valuable. You are cherished. You are a treasure. And you have buckets of love to pour out and over a world humans desperate to know they’re worth loving, too.
Because real joy? The joy that wells from deep within? It doesn’t bubble and overflow from what I get.
But from what I give.