In the name of Valentine’s Day

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I knew where the conversation was going when my coworker said “I hate February,” because I’ve heard it all too many times. But I still asked, “Why?”

“Valentine’s Day,” my coworker answered.

I’ll never understand where all the anger comes from that causes people to hate a holiday, especially when it involves chocolate. Valentine’s Day, while a day focused on celebrating your significant other, is also a day to appreciate the wonderful people in your life. Sometimes, though, we focus mainly on the first reason, and we degrade this holiday by giving it titles such as “Single’s Awareness Day” and wish it away, particularly when we are single ourselves.

I’m single and happy.

Shocking. I know. When so many people can’t seem to be happy because they are waiting for the “one,” this viewpoint takes a right hook at feeling worthless without a date. What a shame! I don’t believe in being unhappy; I control how I feel and aim to never let outside forces penetrate my self worth (though I admit that sometimes people get under my skin).

In the TV show “Parks and Recreation,” Leslie pulls off one of the best attitudes I’ve ever seen to avoid the Valentine’s Day blues. She holds a “Galentine’s Day” brunch. On Feb. 13, Leslie has a celebration for all the women in her life to have “ladies celebrating ladies.” That’s a proactive woman who takes care of her own happiness.

Valentine’s Day seems to be the scapegoat for unhappiness. Here’s a thought: if you think the only way to enjoy Valentine’s Day is to have a date, then take control of your life and ask someone out for the day. I don’t care if you’re a man or a woman — you can have a date if you want one. (Just be sensible, and don’t pretend it is love if it is a first date.)

Another coworker (we discuss a lot of random topics in the newsroom) was explaining to me why he thinks girls should ask guys out too. Despite being a feminist, I still believe in traditional dating where the guy asks the girls out, but I still listened to his argument. And he made a decent point. Guys will never understand how it feels to get asked out, the disappointment of getting asked out by someone you’re not interested in or the exhilaration of getting asked out by your crush, unless they experience it. The same goes for girls. Women will never know the awkwardness or the nervousness of asking out someone they are interested in unless they try. Now I don’t know if I will be asking anyone out soon or ever, but I agree with part of his argument — we need be able to look at dating from different perspectives.

If we aren’t accusing the day for usurping our joy, then we may tend to blame the opposite sex for whatever’s going wrong in life. “Boys are stupid.” I’ll admit it, I’ve said this a few times, but not as many times as I’ve heard it. And the truth is, I’m over it. I’m tired of taking out my frustrations on men in general because I’m having an argument with one guy. (Stay tuned next week to see if I’ve stuck to that statement.) Instead I’m going to follow the “walk in their shoes” rule so I’ll judge less harshly and be more understanding.

Just like we need to look at dating from a different perspective, we need to look at Valentine’s Day from a new angle and take responsibility for our feelings. We can’t let a day influence our mood. We can’t blame a day for an attitude that persists throughout the year, an attitude that measures our worth according to our relationship status.

We don’t need to blame a date for how happy we are, nor do we need to blame the opposite sex. Instead, we should reflect on who we are, where we’ve come from in our lives and how we are progressing. You’re worth something without a significant other. You control your own happiness; and if you’d be happier on Valentine’s Day with a date, it won’t reflect badly on you if you’re proactive and get one.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Single Awareness Day, Galentine’s Day or whatever you choose to celebrate this week! Just promise you’ll be happy doing it and celebrate yourself too.

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