Why Valentines’ Day is hard.

Photo: Jun Wei Yeoh
Photo: Jun Wei Yeoh

Strolling along the streets of Melbourne on Valentines’ Day, I see bouquets of flowers about to be delivered, supermarkets peddling last-minute chocolate deals, and a plethora of red or pink hearts in shop windows.

My heart sinks a little.

Not because I’m single, or because I won’t get to spend Valentines’ Day with my mum this year.

Each year when February 14 rolls around, I’m reminded of love that is lost. Of love that should-have-been; could-have-been. Not just relationships that could’ve flourished but didn’t – but Love that didn’t weather the cracks.

Love that should have rained down on the people who need it the most.

Girls and boys my age or younger, sold into sex slavery. The underprivileged. The hungry.

The daughter who comes from a dysfunctional family, and believes she is the cause (when she isn’t).

The son who doesn’t dare return home because of his past actions.

The couple who refuses to say “sorry” after decades of simmering anger and resentment.

The mum who doesn’t know what to say to her children, except to offer up a silent prayer.

I’d be lying if I said the flowers, chocolates, and cheesy taglines around town don’t make me cringe, at least a little.

But in some senses, they give me hope that people would set aside a day to love, and to remember the special people around them. That it’s worth it to spoil that special someone – be it a family member, friend, partner – for at least a day.

I’d say “spread some love every day” but it’s not that simple.

This Valentines’ Day, remember first, to love yourself. Be kind. Talk to yourself the way you would speak to a loved one. I’m terrible at that, but I think it makes a difference.

“We accept the love we think we deserve” may be the choice quote of 2012 thanks to the movie Perks of Being a Wallflower, but that doesn’t take away from its truth. (:

When you can, share that love with someone else. Give a word of encouragement; buy a box of chocolate; share a piece of good news with someone.

Little by little, it’ll ease that pain or discomfort.

Step by step, it’ll be easier.

And maybe, one day, Valentines’ Day will just be a reminder that Love should be celebrated, because Love never fails. x

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