Valentine’s Day: Is love lost through materialism?

The consumerist aspect of Valentine’s Day can take away from the original message of the holiday, which should be about showing love to those around you. While some may express themselves through gift-giving, it’s important to not get caught up in this aspect and instead concentrate on being thankful for loved ones around you.

College students may have conflicted feelings about the holiday. Depending on their relationship status, many students may see this holiday as another Hallmark holiday or feel societal pressure to find a Valentine to spend the day with. More importantly, the argument of whether or not Valentine’s Day is nothing more than a money-making holiday for businesses disrupts the holiday’s meaning.

According to Forbes, the economic aspects surrounding holidays like Valentine’s Day draw the focus away from human relationships, possibly weakening other forms of social interaction. The materialistic concepts that inhabit Valentine’s Day today have created expectations that could even lead to social alienation.

However, expressing love through words, actions and gifts doesn’t necessarily need to be towards another individual; self-love can be just as important. As most college students know, having time to yourself is a rarity, but having time to yourself to heal, relax or even grow as an individual is a difficult schedule to maintain.

GVSU students should take the day to do something that they love, in whatever form that comes in. Whether that be a romantic meal with a significant other, hanging out with friends in the library or going to the store to buy your favorite snack, the cliche of love comes in all shapes and sizes and holds true on a holiday like this.

Even though this holiday can be used to spread love, those who aren’t in a relationship may feel left out from celebrating this holiday. This holiday should be more than a commercialized day for couples. This holiday should be redefined to include those who chose to celebrate in different ways such as “Galentine’s Day” or by showing love to themselves.

This holiday is about more than flowers and chocolate, it’s about showcasing your love to those around you. It’s about checking up on your friends, family and, more importantly, yourself.

Nurturing positive relationships has numerous physical and mental health benefits for everyone involved. Forming meaningful relationships increases your sense of belonging, improves self-confidence, reduces stress and even encourages changing unhealthy lifestyle habits.

Valentine’s Day is meant to be a day of recognition to those that are special in our lives. Spending quality time, sending a quick message or going out of your way to reach out to someone who means something to you is the purpose of the holiday in the first place.