Photo courtesy of Silar

Valentine’s Day is a holiday that has a history reaching far beyond romantic love. But since it is modernly a day to celebrate love, it’s astounding that people find themselves posting bitter diatribes about the day on social media. Is complaining about being alone on “single’s awareness day” and wishing you had someone special to cuddle really in the spirit of genuine love? If Valentine’s Day is indeed a day set aside to celebrate love, it would only make sense that those who seem upset that they have nobody loving them would be looking to genuinely love someone else.

It’s not a wonder that the people alone on Valentine’s Day are exactly that- alone.

Through their whining and complaining on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and the like, it would seem their idea of love is all about themselves.  The opposite of love is selfishness. To love is to put the needs of others ahead of your own. But don’t ask Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary. It defines love the same way these selfish people define it.

Love doesn’t have to be romantic and neither does Valentine’s Day. It can be baking cookies for the elderly or widowed. It can be spending time with people you appreciate, thanking them for helping you get to where you are. Love can be feeding a homeless person under a bridge, sharing your blanket with your little sister, listening to and helping someone who is battling depression or even mentoring someone.

Science has proven time and again that helping others provides a greater sense of self-worth than selfishness provides. In 2013, Bio Med Central published a review of 40 studies that confirmed volunteering increases mental health and reduces loneliness in individuals. Logically, it would make sense, then, to stop wallowing in self-pity and do something for another person who might also wish they felt loved.

People tend to forget that celebrating Valentine’s Day without a significant other is not as bad as celebrating Mother’s Day or Father’s Day without either parent or (if they want to have children, but cannot) children.

Every other holiday on the calendar has its purpose and meaning. On Martin Luther King Day, we revere one of the most powerful men in the history of civil rights. On Independence Day, we watch fireworks that symbolize gun shots made in the name of freedom. The holidays are many, but the point is the same.

We celebrate those the way they were meant to be, so we should obviously celebrate this holiday the way it was intended. Rather than complaining about a day where we can fly our freaky love flag, it just makes so much more sense to gush love onto someone else who wants to be loved, too.