I took a survey to see what people think of Valentine’s Day. And by survey, I mean I asked a few random people, like a guy at the gas station. Of course, it wasn’t a real survey. I don’t attribute great weight to what other people think of Valentine’s Day, since I have my own opinion, and I’m here to share it with you. In its current iteration here in the United States, I find Valentine’s Day to be a hyper-exclusive celebration, geared for people in love, romantic couples, or married people. These celebrants usually include special gifts or attention, while creating a sense of lonely left-outedness for unpartnered people, or those who don’t look like the white, heterosexual couple typically featured in Valentine’s Day advertising.
Friends and friendship
Since one of the core values of Nonviolent Communication is that belonging and mattering are universal human needs that are worth paying attention to, we can look to Finland as a model. There, the holiday is called Friend’s Day, which includes a celebration of friends and family. Although there is room for romance, it isn’t focused on that, so everyone has a chance to be included in the cards, gifts, love, and care. Guatemalans also have an inclusive approach, where Valentine’s Day is known as Day of Love and Friendship. Another win, by making room for everyone to belong.
As February 14th rolls around each year, consider how you might widen the circle of people you celebrate on Valentine’s Day, with kind words, cards, or other tokens of appreciation and gratitude for family and friends. The more appreciation and care we share with others, the better we all feel.