I must say, it’s certainly different to say that I’m not alone on Valentine’s Day. The first time ever. Admittedly, my boyfriend is across the border and over a thousand miles away from me, but nonetheless, it’s something new.
But since I have little experience when it comes to Valentine’s Day romance, I want to focus on how we can make Valentine’s Day special for everybody, single or not. Those without a valentine tend to feel out of place on this day for lovers, but when we think of love, it should encompass so much more than romance.
When the Beatles sang that “all you need is love,” they knew how to simplify things. I believe that the very essence of our makeups, our core purpose of existing in this world, is to love one another. Intentionally placing love behind everything we do should be our goal.
Our society is built on an individual perspective. We ask ourselves, Who am I? What is my purpose in life? How will I achieve “success”? Broad questions, undoubtedly, but when we have so much access to the entire globalized world and its happenings, it feels overwhelming unless we filter out anything that doesn’t directly pertain to us.
It all starts with ourselves, which is the most difficult. For me, it’s so much easier to go beyond myself and cared for others, but it’s as if I’m another species undeserving of the same treatment. When I feel negative, I take it out on myself as the primary outlet. Self-love can sound selfish. Prioritizing self-care feels like time wasted that could be spent helping others, but we cannot truly love others until we love ourselves.
Yes, our individual selves take priority. But we should take care of ourselves in order to create a foundation for supporting others. Even if it’s one person, that’s okay. We cannot turn ourselves away from the suffering surroundings around us; being a bystander is as bad as being an offender.
Okay, so I speak in very broad terms. How do we live in a more loving way? We start with the people in our lives. Family and friends, of course, are those we must cherish the most. But even with people we do not know, we pass by on the street, we sit next to in class, we show them compassion and kindness.
When it comes to how we live and what we focus on, we willingly gravitate toward the areas we connect to and do what we can to help. We take small actions each day to leave a compassionate mark wherever we go. We offer a helping hand. We respect ourselves, others, and our surroundings. The steps to take are often so simple and take no extra effort, and yet we’ve often gotten to a point where we truly do have to consciously decide to do them.
I don’t speak from a place where I think the world is just pure darkness and humans are monsters. I want to normalize compassion. Most of this is a reminder for myself, especially when I’m in a negative mindset, doing the bare minimum is difficult, let alone intentionally implementing compassion. Every day forward, I want to spread more love, help more people. The perfectionist in me drains my motivation wondering if my life makes much of an impact, but that gives me no excuse to live any differently.
Each day is full of triumphs and setbacks. Once looking at this small occurrences compared to an entire day, week, however long, their severity deminishes. On the large scale, we remember that life is precious and beautiful, but from day to day, it’s easily forgotten. If we appreciated the little details more often and replaced negativity with gratitude, every day would look dramatically different.
Humanity is innately good. You cannot convince me otherwise. And for that reason, I believe love is our most powerful tool. Utilizing love is the first step toward making the world a better place. Our hearts will automatically lead us to where we can best serve others and ourselves. A gut instinct, if you will. Setting love as an ultimate goal sounds naive, but it can the most profound decision we can make.
So long story short, on this day devoted to love, let us devote ourselves to love, too. Starting from ourselves, let it flow toward family and friends, and then into every aspect of life. Love takes different forms, but it’s always there if you’re willing to see it. Don’t let the commercialization of Valentine’s Day cliches get in the way of a deeper, more compassionate message open to everybody.
Love is so much more than romance, so much more than all of us. With love as a guide, let go of the suffering and see the abundance underneath.
Take care, and keep the faith (and love). -Allie