On a college campus, attitudes towards Valentine’s Day can range from gleeful to bitter and everything in between. The annual holiday, affectionately dubbed “Singles Awareness Day” by some, tends to harshly divide college students into two groups of people: those who have a significant other and those who do not. But romantic love isn’t the only type of love that exists; if you are spending the day without a significant other, that does not mean you are unloved in the world.
Unfortunately for us native English speakers, we only have one word for love which leads to its cheapening and overuse. The Ancient Greeks had many different words to describe the various types of love that can exist. One of these types that the Greeks valued most is philia, or the love that stems from a deep friendship. In the understanding of the Ancient Greeks, this word referred to the love shared between brothers in arms on the battlefield. While the majority of us have not experienced literal warfare, we still understand the importance of someone who is there for you when you need them the most.
By that definition, your best friend or friends can be your valentine. Your pet can be your valentine. Your favorite family member can be your valentine. You can be your own valentine. All of the above can be your valentines! And while romantic love can be an incredible experience, it is not the end-all achievement for the various types of love that life has to offer.
Regardless of how you spend it, I hope that you have a very Happy Valentine’s Day this Tuesday, and you know that you are loved.
“There are all kinds of love in this world but never the same love twice.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald