Let's face it: Valentine's Day gets an awful lot of flack.
The holiday creates depressed feelings for single girls and it's easy to see why. The weeks leading up to February 14 are filled with reminders of romance, making girls who are not half of a couple feel like less than.
For those in relationships, it makes expectations skyrocket. The pressure is mostly put on men to either make a grand gesture, or bust. Men feel like they have to pull a John Cusack in "Say Anything" (or better) in order to avoid disappointing their girlfriends.
It's no wonder Valentine's Day receives dirty looks and sh*t talking from both singles and couples; it's a holiday that has begun to create mountains of anxiety.
In response to those anxious feelings, defense mechanisms run high around the middle of February. Instead of admitting to insecurities or acknowledging the weight of pressure, we love to proclaim that Valentine's Day sucks. It's a "Hallmark Holiday."
We love to ask, "Why do we need a designated holiday to celebrate love? Shouldn't we love each other every day?" Here's the thing, though: We kind of do need this designated holiday.
Humans are creatures of habit. As young working professionals, it's so easy to get caught up in a daily routine. We wake up, make coffee, get dressed, walk outside, get on the subway, go to work.
Time moves quickly, and before we know it, weeks have blurred into months and we're marveling at the passing of another year.
We're aware of this, of course. We are constantly acknowledging that we need to appreciate the moment, that we should try to "unplug" more often and embrace the idea of being present. Carpé diem, YOLO, etc.
With that in mind, sometimes we just need an opportunity to stop and appreciate one another. Sometimes, we just can't get there on our own and we need a little push in the right direction. Valentine's Day gives us an excuse to do that, regardless of our relationship status.
I have always loved Valentine's Day for that reason. During the times in my life when I've been a single girl, I embraced the holiday as an opportunity to honor my platonic soul mates: my best friends. I'd invite my BFFs over for a chick flick movie marathon and wine night. (Pink attire optional.)
When my fiancé and I started dating, I looked forward to Valentine's Day. Not because I expected him to pull out all the stops and surprise me with a jaw-dropping romantic evening, but because I genuinely was excited about creating a special night separate from the "everyday."
As a self-proclaimed modern woman, I also don't think it's solely on the guy's shoulders to be the catalyst for romance. Ladies, we can take the reigns, too.
The bottom line is, sometimes, we truly need a reason to break from the routine and pay attention to one another. And, it's okay to need a reason to do that. It doesn't mean we aren't strong, or we are victims to the "Hallmark" industry; we're just human.
Ultimately, Valentine's Day can be celebrated with a significant other, a friend or even by yourself. You are not limited to the cookie-cutter idea of a heart-shaped box of chocolates; you are only limited by your perceptions of the holiday itself.
So, instead of jumping to the eye-rolls and sarcasm this Valentine's Day, why not take a minute to express your gratitude for someone in your life, or even yourself? Kiss your boyfriend just a little longer.
Tell your best friend how much you love her. Call your grandma, who is only getting older. Treat yourself to a manicure.
Take time out of the repetitive motions of daily life, just for one day. You'll be happy you did.