Valentine’s Day: Happiness for some, anxiety for others

Austin Loukas

Feb. 14, like any other day, occurs every year. Typically, people either hate this day or love it, depending solely on whether or not they have a “special someone” at that particular time of the year.
It is actually the second most celebrated holiday in the world after New Years. People like Valentine’s Day. They like is so much that a countdown for it is automatically programmed into one of the apps on my iPhone.
But, granted you’re happy in your relationship or seeing someone new, this day does have a lot of potential. From experience, I can say it is a lot of fun exchanging cute little Valentine’s Day gifts and cards with each other, going out to eat and spending the day together.
Not that it is or should be any different than any other day, but Valentine’s Day allows couples to make each other feel special while celebrating romantic or courtly love in a sweet and amusing way.
In theory, it should be the perfect day because that’s how Valentine’s Day is advertised.
Then there are people like me who wanted to hide back in early January when Wal-Mart and CVS started putting out stuffed bears and dogs and chocolate roses, boxes of valentines, bags upon bags of candy hearts and other miscellaneous tchotchke that people like to buy.
It made me nervous. That Wal-Mart outing became mildly overwhelming. So much pink and red and (gasp) …I didn’t have a valentine! I wasn’t ready for it. I bought whatever I needed to buy, tweeted about the experience and bolted for the door.
Now don’t get me wrong. I think all of those colorful little gifts are adorable and marketed up to the fullest extent. I like the holiday because it’s different.
I’ve found that even if I don’t have a “real” valentine, celebrating with family and other single friends makes the day a lot more manageable.
But the truth is that for some, Valentine’s Day causes more stress and anxiety than anything else, especially since the world has commercialized the holiday to the extreme.
Not having a partner or even just a valentine on Valentine’s Day is just one of the major V-day stressors.
For many, being alone on Feb. 14 is a depressing thought. You’d want to be one of the people receiving stuffed animals, cards, kisses and affection, right?
If not, then it looks like you’re ready to take on the holiday single-handedly.
But for those who aren’t entirely OK with being in The Singles Club, Valentine’s Day can feel like a real slap in the face, lowering ones self-esteem and self-worth. It is estimated that 15% of women will send themselves flowers on Valentines Day, according to Time. How’s that for low self-esteem?
Another major anxiety-causer is ensuring that the day really is as perfect as it can get. Did I buy the right gift? Will he/she like it? Is it too late to make dinner reservations? So many things could go wrong that you have to wonder  if it even matters at all anyway. After all, it is just a made-up holiday.
So why are we getting ourselves so worked up over it?
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for Valentine’s Day troubles to go straight to the head. As much as I like the holiday, society takes it entirely too seriously. Consequently, individuals may become agitated, discouraged or disappointed, wishing the day would just end already.
Unlike Christmas, Halloween and New Years, Valentine’s Day singles people out. It is costly not only from a gift-giving sense (in the billions, by the way), but also mental health wise. It’s all in all just not a fair holiday.