We should focus on being genuine instead of doing what everyone tells us is ‘right’

 

Saturday was Valentine’s Day, and like many, I did nothing.

Sitting at home scrolling through the tidal waves of love pouring out from my social media pages, drowning me in their love. And don’t start, ‘Omg why can’t you be happy for other people’s expression of love’ — because I believe I can be. But that’s not what was suffocating me.

It was the idea that even though I saw Sophie and Mark had sent each other an E-card, I knew Sophie was dying to break up with him and just couldn’t find the ‘right moment’. And even though I saw Tom sharing a picture of ‘lads’ Valentine’s night out’, I knew he was upset that his on-again, off-again girlfriend did not want to arrange a date for that night.

Love is no longer celebrated on Valentine’s Day, rather the ideal of love is.

People, more than ever, are convinced by an ideal of love — something that is completely unattainable. The stereotype is set in stone: you find it a few times around your 20s, involving roller-coaster emotions. And then you meet ‘the one’. Your hear misses a beat and several years later you’re married with two kids, a house and a people-carrier: perfect nuclear family. This idea has been drummed into us from such an early age. Our society has very definite rules on love which seep into films, TV shows and songs, perpetuating our obsession with an ideal of love. And the result of all this is a mind-numbing, constant bombardment of questions, like: have you got a boyfriend/ girlfriend yet? Are you happy being single? Are you still a virgin? When are you having children?

Being constantly surrounded by this adulation and desire for love, makes things rather confusing. Do I love X or is it just easier to pretend to love X? Do I love X or do I love the idea of X? And finally: Do I love X or do I just love love?

We are told that love is the ultimate goal in life, and why should it not be? But the way that society pressurises us to achieve that love is far too overwhelming. Love is not just the goal, but the be-all and end-all, so much so that a relationship where a couple is only pretending to be in love is frequently preferred to no relationship at all. How is that healthy?

I myself get frustrated with being single and would like to be in a relationship. Maybe on the surface I come across as a ‘strong, independent woman who don’t need no man’, but I still longingly watch the big, romantic gestures in those comforting romantic films and sigh. It is hard to avoid the constant nagging feeling in the back of your head reminding you of the single life, while at the same time giving hope to a future utopia where everything will be just the way it should with the love of your life, because that’s how we’ve been conditioned.

If you do want a relationship,  since when have they become so serious? Why can they not just be a bit of fun and If they develop into something more (i.e., love) then great, I’ll gladly give a genuine ‘good for you’. Because isn’t that really the point of relationships? To have a bit of fun, which can be interpreted any way you want!

And isn’t that really also the point of Valentine’s Day? To have fun, instead of an ‘oops I have forgotten to tell you I love you for the last 364 days’ or ‘I don’t really like you but it’s Valentine’s Day’. Whatever you do on this day, it should be something genuine. Whether you decide to give a Hallmark card, a bouquet of flowers and a chocolate box, or your Valentine’s Day is exactly the same as any other day, just make sure you do what you genuinely want — and remember to have fun with whatever you decide on!