Multi-Faceted Emotion Deserves Respect

Rachel Wilson, Editor-in-Chief

Let’s cut the disillusionment. We can call Valentine’s Day a commercialized holiday; We can call it Singles Awareness Day; We can call it overrated and trivial and ridiculously unnecessary; But no matter what we call Valentine’s Day, the fact of the matter is that February 14 is a day that celebrates love.

All kinds of love.

Not just mushy-gushy romantic-comedy love that only exists when we’re sitting in theater seats with our recyclable 3D glasses.

Valentine’s Day is about sibling love, friendship love, animal love—any and all kinds of love—and it’s about expressing that love to those around us. Sure, we love our brothers and friends and dogs, but Valentine’s Day gives us the chance to take an entire day to show them just how much.

I understand why someone might dislike Valentine’s Day, but only three reasons for this dislike exist. Either he is a complete cynic, his understanding of the word “love” isn’t fully developed, or he refuses to subscribe to society’s inflated perception of the holiday.

To the cynics in the crowd, well, I hope you enjoy yourselves on the 14th, but don’t expect any boxed chocolates from me.

We’re crippled by our English vocabulary—we only have one word to encompass all of the different types and levels of love we are capable of feeling. But just because we only have one word to express ourselves doesn’t mean those different emotions don’t exist.

In comparison, the Spanish language is host to over 40 different words and phrases that deal with the subject of love, each one specific to its unique level of human emotion.

Within each of these words a whole world of meaning is implied, and this meaning raises the level of communication we, as a society, are able to attain. Without more advanced communication, it’s no wonder we get confused.

Now, of course, the most vocal opponents of the holiday are those unhappy with the mainstreamed, pop-cultured, overly-romantic Valentine’s Day that centers around the couple in love—in Spanish, “Ellos que están enamorados.”

To be honest, I agree with them. I find the idea of a day focused completely on those who happen to be dating at the time, annoying.

I don’t like being left out of anything; I love joining in on any kind of fun that’s happening—so when the cartoon cupids and storefront displays hypnotize us into believing our lack of a “significant other” makes us feel inferior to those lucky souls that have landed a catch, I understand why some take issue.

Especially as Americans, in the land of the free, the home of the brave, and the place where all are equally entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we fight for our right to be included in everything available to us. And if we can’t be included, we’d rather those who can be included be deprived of that privilege.

To reverse the old adage, “If you can’t join ‘em, beat ‘em.”

Which is why, in order to join in on the festivities on Valentine’s Day, I have to remind myself of this: Love is not a one-dimensional, simple object I can pick up, put in my pocket, carry around, and show off when the opportunity arises. Love is a multi-faceted, complex, confusing entity that deserves more respect than a simple dismissal.

Love is what makes us human. Without it, we cease to be compassionate, social creatures. Those of us with the strongest capacity to love stand out in our history books after reaching the pinnacles of significance. Alexander the Great. Napoleon. Madame Curie.

Whether or not we want to admit to it, we all love something. That something-—be it a person, an activity, an object-—takes on importance in our lives. And there’s nothing wrong with that; it motivates us.

So this year, don’t write off Valentine’s Day like you have since you stopped passing out colorful packages of sugar and card stock in pink envelopes to your classmates.

Appreciate the day for what it is, and while you’re at it, show that appreciation to the people you love–be it your dog, your best friend since kindergarten, your mom, your lab partner, or your pet rock. Whoever it is, they deserve to know—it may turn out they’re planning to do the same for you.