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valentines day

Happy Valentine’s Day (almost)! No matter how you plan on celebrating, or not celebrating at all, there is no doubt that Valentine’s Day brings a lot of emotions for people of all ages and stages in life. It calls to mind that there is an undeniable expectation in today’s culture to make sure every one of your social media “friends” knows exactly just how loved you are because they will certainly make sure you know their plans, even if it highly inflated.  From posts about Valentine’s Day plans with friends to lavish bouquets from admirers, it seems that if you do not post something you are irrelevant or not living your “best life”. But what does that even mean? Are we as happy as our posts make us seem? And in addition, just because we don’t post about Valentine’s Day does that mean that we have nothing going on?

According to the National Retail Federation, consumer spending is projected to be at an all-time high in 2020 with an average of $196.31 per person compared to $161.96 in 2019. In addition, the hashtag “#valentine’s” is used by over 5.5 million users. Both factors contribute to the pressure of spending and posting well to show love for those around you. But, what I think we all can recognize and need to realize is that there is likely one big thing missing here: real human connection.

What if, this Valentine’s Day, we chose to be 100% connected to our loved ones and make it a truly social day, free of technology, and skip the unrealistic Instagram pressure of posting about our Valentine’s to the world? A large part of our social media anxiety is related directly to these unrealistic expectations that we set based on what we see on social media. This can build up in our minds and hearts, even if we are not directly aware, and can cause dissent in our relationships. It can also bog us down with fear of starting new relationships because of pressures from outside sources and expectations.

One of my favorite activities to do with my family, that we hardly get the time to do together these days, is to make a big family dinner that we cook and enjoy together. This may sound so simple but with nights filled with homework, practices, trying to exercise and stay sane, quick dinners are a norm for most families. Take back this Valentine’s Day as being a true day about love and real personal connection. Whether its cooking with the family, playing a board game or going for an evening stroll, make the conscious effort to truly disconnect to reconnect and not let social media pressures dominate our choices.