Don't Hate Valentines Day: Somebody to Love

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli

This Thursday is Valentine’s Day—a day loved, loathed, and mocked by many.

In years past, this day meant, for me either the celebration of a romantic relationship I had, the longing for a romantic relationship I didn’t have, or the cursing a romantic relationship I wished I didn’t have. Either which way, it was always somehow marked with an accounting, one where I was clearly “Successful” or “Unsuccessful.”

After getting married, I stopped paying much attention to Valentine’s Day. My husband and I both agreed that the day didn’t need too much in the way of fireworks and formalities (though he’s good with the flowers, don’t get me wrong).

Since having kids, the focus of Valentine’s Day has become making sure we’ve written Valentines for all of my daughter’s classmates; this usually plays out in about four acts in our house. Act 1: My daughter is thrilled to pick out cards for her classmates and can’t wait to write them all! Act 2: My daughter takes two days to sign two cards and then declares herself completely exhausted of the whole task. Act 3: I sign all the rest of the cards, add some kind of cheap anything-but-candy “goody” to them, and send her off to spread the love. Act 4:  She comes home with an armload of cards and is re-smitten by Valentine’s Day and all the “loot” that comes with it.

And with all that said, I am pretty sure I’ve gotten it all wrong.

I don’t think Valentine’s Day should be any kind of statement of your success or failure in the category of romantic relationships. I don’t think Valentine’s Day should be brushed aside once you’ve happily settled in with a life partner. And I don’t think Valentine’s Day should be limited to forcing your small children to sign valentines for their classmates.

Instead, I think Valentine’s Day should be genuinely tended to- a day that should simply be about saying “I Love You” to everyone in your life that you, in fact, love. Whether it’s a romantic partner, a child, a parent, a sibling, a friend, a co-worker, a teacher, a pet… Valentine’s Day is the one day on the calendar every year specifically set aside to give us the opportunity to send love. I mean, what can be wrong with that?

So instead of wondering what kind of love you’ll be receiving on Thursday or rolling your eyes at the over-puffed displays of roses and heart-shaped candy boxes in every storefront, why not spend the time thinking of just how you can give love to everyone who holds up residence in your heart— pick up the phone, send an email, schedule a lunch, put a card in the mail, bring home flowers, do the dishes, make a sign, post it on Facebook, take a picture, shout it from the rooftop. Say it boldly and loudly and without conditions or judgment: I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you.

Who can you send love to this Valentine’s Day? 


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P.S. Don't forget, there's probably "Somebody to Love" out :-)


"Don't Hate Valentines Day: Somebody to Love" was originally published as "Somebody to Love"

Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.