Choose love this Valentine’s Day

Rewon Shimray | Cartoonist

For many, a very distinct feeling will wash over us this Valentine’s Day morning as the winter sun begins to peek through our blinds: dread.

However, this morning, as with any day of the year, comes with a choice. We can choose to be disappointed about loves lost or our significant others’ inability to meet our expectations. Or, we can also choose love.

Imagine if, this Valentine’s Day, instead of cracking singles’ awareness day jokes, we all chose love.

Valentine’s Day is a time to show love to yourself and others. Love comes in many forms, and it doesn’t have to fit the standards or expectations that derive from social media and romantic comedies. Look instead for reasons to love the positive moments and details around you, however small they may seem.

Use this Valentine’s Day to recognize all the love that impacts your daily life. Reach out to a long-time friend and tell them how much they mean to you. Send your mother some flowers. Make a fancy dinner with your roommates. Write a thank you card to your favorite professor.

This Valentine’s Day, those of us that are in relationships need to choose love as well. This may seem obvious. After all, many see Valentine’s Day as a time of heart-shaped chocolate and kisses to be exchanged by couples. Yet, often we get bogged down by the stress of today –– the pressure to make our significant other feel special and cared for through the showering of terms of endearment, overpriced greeting cards and dozens of red roses. Free yourself from the commercial coercion that says we need to show our love through our wallet and that claims we should save all the romantic energy in us for one day out of the year. Use today to show the one you love how you feel in a way that is special to you. Maybe that means making a playlist of all your favorite songs or watching your loved one’s favorite movie or just giving them an unexpected kiss on the cheek as you walk to class.

More than anything else, take this day as a time to love yourself.

Research from the Huffington Post shows that being kind to yourself lowers your risk of depression and anxiety. Loving yourself can also reduce stress and cut down on procrastination.

So take a long bubble bath, listen to your favorite song, binge watch your favorite TV show, and buy yourself a Chipotle burrito – with guacamole. Take the time to really invest in self-care and appreciate yourself because the person most deserving of your love and energy is you.

Additionally, studies show that low self-esteem and can cause people to be dissatisfied with their partner and suffer from anxiety. In this way, failing to take time for self-love can have a Butterfly Effect. The Butterfly Effect is the idea that the smallest act, even the flutter of a butterfly’s wings can cause a hurricane on the other side of the world. A small act of kindness toward yourself and others can work the same way.

Above all, as you read this on a chilly Waco Wednesday morning, may you feel love. May the love you experience in every aspect of your life – fleeting moments of positivity and cumulative acts of kindness – manifest itself. May you go forth and take on this Valentine’s Day not with dread, but with love.